The Addams Family is a cute 3D animated reboot of the classic macabre family, with an important message at its heart about accepting others.
Created by Charles Addams, The Addams Family property was originally a comic strip published in The New Yorker starting in 1938, offering a satirical take on the prototypical nuclear family with a clan of horror-minded folks. It was adapted to live-action in the black comedy sitcom that aired from 1964-1966. Though the original series was short-lived, the franchise lived on in the form of two animated series, one in the 70s and another in the 90s. The Addams Family also received a trilogy of live-action movies in the 90s, introducing a new generation to the family. Now, America's favorite horror clan returns in animated form with a new, modernized adventure. The Addams Family is a cute 3D animated reboot of the classic macabre family, with an important message at its heart about accepting others.
The Addams Family follows Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez (Oscar Isaac) as they flee from angry townsfolk who don't understand their ways, making a life for themselves in an abandoned asylum in New Jersey and raising their two children: Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). Having been isolated from society for 13 years, that changes when Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) builds a town at the base of the mountain on which the Addams family home sits. Though Gomez and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) are busy preparing Pugsley for an Addams family tradition, Morticia and Grandmama (Bette Midler) become worried when Wednesday grows curious of the outside world and makes friends with Parker Needler (Elsie Fisher). With Margaux's plans for the town threatening the Addams' way of life, it remains to be seen if everyone will remain divided or find a way to get along despite their differences.
Directed by Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted) and Greg Tiernan (Sausage Party) from a script by Matt Lieberman (The Christmas Chronicles) and Pamela Pettler (Corpse Bride), The Addams Family maintains the macabre humor of the franchise, with the animated medium allowing the filmmakers to take it a step further. Some aspects of the movie may be a bit too horrific - like Wednesday Addams' typical braids ending in hangman's nooses - but those will fly over the heads of the young children the movie is generally aimed at. For those young viewers, The Addams Family does contain an important message about allowing everyone to be themselves and accepting those differences rather than try to force everyone to assimilate. All in all, there's something for everyone in The Addams Family, plenty of heart and silly humor for kids and an important message for viewers of any age.
The Addams Family is helped a great deal by its voice cast, with such big stars as Theron, Isaac and Janney leading the adult roles while Moretz, Wolfard and Fisher play the younger generation. All the stars manage to bring a great deal of personality to their characters through their voice performances. Theron and Moretz especially shine as the women of the Addams family, affecting deceptively difficult accents and tones in order to bring Morticia and Wednesday to life. Similarly, Kroll gives a kooky performance at Uncle Fester that brings plenty of silliness to the movie. While The Addams Family has assembled a cast of A-list stars, some of the actors shine far above others, but they all come together to make the movie as enjoyable as it is.
All in all, The Addams Family attempts to modernize the titular family for a new generation, which invariably leads to differences in tone and the themes at the core of the film. This isn't a satire of modern America, but a treatise about allowing the weirdness within all of us to flourish and accepting each other despite our differences. While those changes may not work for all viewers, especially those that grew up with the original comic strip, the 60s TV show or the 90s movies, this Addams Family illustrates how media evolves to fit the times in which it's made. Certainly, the message it delivers is important for folks of all ages to hear, but The Addams Family never makes it a chore to learn.
Because, ultimately, The Addams Family does deliver an enjoyable animated adventure. There's humor for kids and adults alike, ranging from silly, cartoonish gags to some of the black comedy longtime Addams Family fans expect of the property. As such, the new animated movie is a decent watch for fans of the franchise, especially families whose children are excited to see the new adventure. Though The Addams Family isn't so good it demands to be seen in a theater, it's a solid enough choice for a day out with the family before the (better) more family-friendly titles release next month when the holiday season kicks off. Plus, though it's not really scary, The Addams Family is spooky enough to get viewers in the mood for Halloween.
The Addams Family is now playing in U.S. theaters. It is 87 minutes long and rated PG for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action.
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- The Addams Family (2019) release date: Oct 11, 2019