“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky, The Addams family.” Now, after their several television series (of which the 1960s version is the most iconic) and some live action films in the 1990s (the first two released in cinemas), the deliciously macabre family – Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Lurch and Cousin It –are back on the big screen in their first animated feature film, with directors Greg Tiernan (Thomas & Friends) and Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens) demonstrating a clear love for the original character design in Charles Addams’ 1950s New Yorker cartoons.
In the new film, Tiernan and Vernon look to modernize the Addams’ story, and provide some background to their somewhat-isolated lifestyle. After townspeople with pitchforks force Gomez and Morticia Addams (voiced by Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron) to flee on the night of their wedding, the pair find their perfect home – in the form of an abandoned asylum atop a foggy hill. Flash forward thirteen years and we have the iconic Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley Addams (Finn Wolfhard). However, they’re not all too happy to be there.
Gomez and Morticia keep their family firmly within the gates of the house, insisting to their children that the people out there are will never accept them, they only need each other. However, Wednesday, an intelligent and inquisitive teen, is bored; contained in the house with a longing to see the outside and go to a real school. Her dream comes true when home improvement television show host, Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) builds a town, not so subtly named Assimilation, at the bottom of the hill.
Assimilation is a bright and happy community where children sing “What’s so great about being yourself when you can be like everyone else?” Worried that the Addams’ mansion is too dark and gloomy and will affect housing sales, Margaux forcefully offers a home makeover. When they politely refuse, she uses online profiles and fake news to turn the townspeople against them – seems the Addams’ can’t ever catch a break.
However detailed, the animation feels a little dated, more Shrek than Frozen. That being said, those who grew up watching the 1960s series or the live action interpretation of the 90s will no doubt notices the nods to earlier incarnations. There are some inventive moments, such as ‘dusting the house’ meaning literally putting dust all over the house, or Morticia’s skirt releasing thousands of spiders to form a bridge over the bottomless pit in the basement. What, you don’t have one of those? The voice cast are perfectly acceptable, with Moretz adding a deliciously tired cynicism to the voice of Wednesday, but the script doesn’t quite have the quick-wit comedy of Barry Sonnenfeld’s first Addams family film. However much fun Allison Janney seems to be having in the role of Margaux, an evil woman with a glossy exterior, you’ll simply find yourself wondering why this film was necessary at all.
Is The Addams Family a Good Movie for Kids?
The appeal of the Addams’ is their macabre and ghoulish lifestyle in contrast to their loving family dynamic. Gomez and Morticia adore each other and are fantastic parents to their children – progressive, open-minded and always there to listen. This 2019 animation is overflowing with morals; such as not every family is the same, and learning to let people express themselves how they want without judgment. The Addams Family is predictable, but young ones will find lots to enjoy, with it’s upside down world and catchy theme tune, it might just be one to catch on Netflix and save the cinema trip.