The Addams Family (2019) Review

Spoilers Alert:

In the new edition of the black and white cult family THE ADDAMS FAMILY The scary, friendly monsters come in a modern 3D guise and are far less scary than in the serial original. We’ll reveal in our review whether that automatically means that the animated family film isn’t worth seeing.

Margaux Needler and her assistant Glenn want to make the neighborhood the nicest one around.

The plot summary

Morticia (original: Charlize Theron) and her fiery husband Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and their family are desperately looking for a new home. One stormy night, they find a home in a stately Victorian mansion that is perfectly suited to their needs. Life here is wonderful: Daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) loves to torture her brother Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), Grandma (Bette Midler) experiments with bubbling witch potions in the basement, Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) taps into the dilapidated power lines and the ice-cold hand walks through the long, creaky secret passages of the walls. But the weirdest family can’t live in terror when their new neighbors are deeply strange. Finally, in addition to morbid puberty, Wednesday also suffers from compulsory schooling. She leaves a lasting impression on her classmates and their parents, who dream of a perfect suburban idyll and from now on only know one goal: the strange Addams clan must disappear!

The Addams Family Movie Meaning

In the late 1930s, Charles Adams first drew comic strips about the “Addams Family,” a middle-class American family that indulges in a fascination with the macabre and obscure. The humor was morbid and the main characters were anything but family-friendly. But despite this (or precisely because of this), the Addams family, consisting of Gomez Alonzo Lupold, Morticia, the children Wednesday and Pugsley as well as many other supporting characters, continued their triumph in various media. The Addams fought for its place in the annals of pop culture primarily as a television series (starring John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax). Charles Adams’ creation has also been made into films, several animated series and even a musical. It has now been 19 years since the last film in 1998. Reason enough for Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, the directing duo behind “Sausage Party,” to film the script by Matt Lieberman (“The Christmas Chronicles”) and Pamela Pettler as a modern animated adventure. Anyone who hoped that “The Addams Family” would be similarly grown-up, especially because of Pettler’s involvement in “Corpse Bride” and the creators behind the bawdy, vulgar Seth Rogen comedy “Sausage Party,” would do so Unfortunately we have to disappoint. Unlike “ParaNorman” or “Frankenweenie” recently, the 3D version of “Addams Family” is not morbid fun for older people, but is – even with its release from 6 – aimed primarily at a young audience that doesn’t have it here is confronted with all too exciting events within the dark Addams mansion, but primarily with harmless coming-of-age fun with a smart message about the value of difference and tolerance.

Morticia Addams, Gomez Addams and their butler Lurch welcome their guests.

But they didn’t really want to scare off the target group of original “Addams Family” lovers; The “Addams Family” animated film also contains a good portion of homage to the origins of the series. Unfortunately, the makers don’t always succeed 100 percent in reconciling both – bowing and realignment. To illustrate this, let’s jump to the very end of “The Addams Family” – to a two-part credits, which initially consists of a wonderfully nostalgic sing-along sequence to the “Addams Family” theme song and, after a harsh cut, transitions into bright, colorful ones Credits to a thoroughly modern hip-hop track. Here the claim to definitely want to offer the younger generation possible entertainment at their eye level collides with the attempt to at least temporarily bring back the flair of back then by means of cross-references and a series of guest appearances by well-known Addams family members. How much the makers want to achieve this balancing act is already noticeable in the script, the implementation of which on the screen always feels as if two scripts were filmed at once and clumsily assembled into one another again and again. The events in the castle – visually presented in a deliberately very monotonous and therefore very atmospheric gray-white-black look – which are primarily about Pugsley’s impending manhood ritual and Wednesdey’s pubertal approaches, are juxtaposed with a plot in which the egocentric television presenter Margeaux Needler desperately trying to turn the neighborhood suburb into a model housing development, which the Addamses naturally stand in the way of.

The neighborhood scenes are dominated by bright colors and Margeaux Needler’s terrible blow-dry hairstyle; Above all, however, this plot mainly serves to show that it is not the Addams, who seems strange from the outside, who is up to evil here, but rather the Needler, who brings everything and everyone into line, has far worse plans, but initially because of the image she cultivates on the outside has the blind obedience of the neighbors on their side. The conflict between the Addams and Needler finally culminates in a torchlight riot – the residents were able to download the torches onto their smartphones in advance via an app. This, as well as the secrets that are hidden in Needler’s basement and thanks to which she has a sophisticated fake news system working for her and against the Addams, make a nice statement about the easy seduction of entire societies by a supposedly charismatic leader. And of course, in the end, the main message is that you shouldn’t be blinded by the outside, but in the end it’s the inside of every person that decides good and bad. But in the context of this story, the iconic Addams Family wouldn’t necessarily have been needed for these standard family film messages, because surprisingly little is made of their peculiarities and whimsy in “The Addams Family”.

The series episodes and films about the “Addams Family” have never been really scary, but with the combination of an accurate family study and a nice pinch of harmless gothic horror, there is unfortunately not much left in the animated version. Let’s keep it short: 2019’s The Addams Family is, above all, a film for the whole family; Nods to the original occasionally offer nice bonuses for connoisseurs of the family, but are not a priority. Not only is the equally eccentric and detailed look a feast for the eyes; The Addams estate, which has been recreated on the computer, offers endless little things to discover in every scene: from the paintings on the wall to hidden rooms and clues to trap doors, weapons and secret house residents. The gag hit rate is also high and mainly results from the smartly written characters. The highlight is clearly Wednesday, who doubts her evil existence and knows how to shock her mother with her sudden penchant for pink hair clips and little dresses. Her brother Purgsley, on the other hand, unfortunately falls a bit short because the script focuses too much on him in the context of the ritual. But as has always been the case with the Addams Family, the biggest stars remain the supporting characters. And the opening number of the butler Lurch and the ice-cold little hand gets you in the mood for the coming events.

Conclusion: “The Addams Family” is a charming mix of homage and modernizing makeover of the popular horror family. The balancing act doesn’t always work out completely, but the film has enough cross-references to offer fans of the original series as well as slapstick and peppery wordplay for viewers who prefer to experience their eerie, beautiful 3D entertainment at the cutting edge.

“The Addams Family” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from October 24th.

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