The Addams Family (2019)
the addams family | greg tiernan | conrad vernon | matt lieberman | pamela pettler | oscar isaac | charlize theron | chloe grace moretz | based on | charles addams | animation | comedy | family | fantasy | united kingdom | Canada | united states | finn wolfhard
Film: The Addams Family
Director: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Writer: Matt Lieberman and Pamela Pettler
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Chloë Grace Moretz
Now I grew up on the two films that came out back in the 90’s. I’ve always pushed to watch more horrific things, even when the age might not have been the most appropriate, but those were some of the more family friendly things I saw. A girl I’m seeing recommending checking this out and I agreed to go with her. The synopsis is an animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.
We start this off with someone getting ready. They screw their boots on and do something similar with their dress. We then see for eye shadow using the ashes of their mother and for blush the ashes of their father. This is Morticia (Charlize Theron) and we see her walking down a cobble street. Normal people flee in fright. She is on her way to her wedding to Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac). It gets interrupted when the townspeople show up with swords, torches and catapults. They are able to get away thanks to Grandma (Bette Midler) and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll). The couple then flees to find somewhere they can be themselves.
This takes them to New Jersey. Thing, a dismembered hand that moves on it own, is driving them. They hit someone who is in a straight-jacket. This turns out to be Lurch (Conrad Vernon). His jacket says there’s a hospital for the criminally insane nearby and it is actually on top of a hill. They take it over and call it home. The spirit that lives there isn’t necessarily happy about it though.
Through pictures we see that this couple has two children. The older is Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and then Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). They are constantly trying to kill each other. The house is tense since Puglsey has a party coming up where there’s a right of passage that he needs to perform. This involves dancing with a sword and he isn’t ready. He instead wants to us explosives. Gomez won’t give up on him though.
Things take a turn when the swamp that has hid the Addams family is drained and the fog surrounding them goes away. This reveals their house and much to the displeasure of Margaux Needler (Allison Janney). She is taking on a big endeavor for a renovation show she has to make over a whole town called Assimilation. When the Addams family comes to town and scares people for being different, she wants to try to get them to meet her requirements. Wednesday meets the daughter of Margaux, Parker (Elsie Fisher). Wednesday decides she wants to go to normal school, in part to rebel against her parents and the life she’s been forced to live. When Margaux doesn’t get her way, she takes matter into her own hands with some dark secrets.
To start off my recap, I first off have to say I’m shocked by the cast that we have in this film. I think that they do well in embodying the characters. Since this is animated, I can’t go much off the actual performances. I do think that Isaac puts on a solid accent and takes on Gomez. Theron gives a different vibe to Morticia, but I also liked that. Moretz was a solid Wednesday. It really works that she plays it so deadpan and without emotion. Wolfhard as Pugsley is also quite good. I did have to laugh at the way Kroll does a lisp for Fester and I also thought Janney was good as the villain here. I guess what I’m trying to say is all of the voice acting was good across the board.
The problem that I have is I’m not entirely sure who this film is directed at. It is animated, but I do think a lot of the message is going to go over some kids head. On top of that, I do think there might be a more niche market than they realized here. I get that Hotel Translyvania was quite successfully so they’re hoping that this would catch on as well. I would have enjoyed it if I had it as a kid along with my sister. I don’t necessarily know if more ‘normal’ kids who are into the mainstream will take to this though. This does encourage people to be themselves and to not assimilate into what society wants us to. It also has a big aspect of breaking family tradition and not forcing children into doing things that were done in the past as well.
This does also a really good job in embodying the Addams family. They say things that are off just a bit and it made me chuckle. In the end though, it does get problematic. Trying to kill your sibling is something that many of us wanted to do growing up, but these kids take it a step too far. I will say that the loving relationship between Gomez and Morticia is wonderful. They really show a couple embracing each other fully.
I will admit that being a children’s movie, it does have issues building tension for me. The biggest problem is that their house could be destroyed or they could be run out of town. Yes, this is horrible and we should just let them be themselves as they don’t bother anyone aside from throwing a party where their odd family members show up. It doesn’t truly embody that I know something bad will happen and that I’m concerned for them. I know it will work out in the end and the stakes just aren’t necessarily there. I will say that being it runs 86 minutes is at least a perfect length. It doesn’t outstay its time for sure.
I will give credit to the animation though. It isn’t the old school that I’m used to, but it definitely works. It actually feels like a Tim Burton film without being done by him. It is most definitely influenced by German Expressionism. Instead of the house or the scenery being contorted though, it is the people. Morticia and pretty much every young girl aside from Wednesday have impossibly lean bodies. I love this movement of films so seeing its influence is great.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. It has the main theme we know and love. There are some songs that are played for laughs which I didn’t mind. We also get Lurch singing REM, which I thought was hilarious. I will have to give credit here as the soundtrack fit for what was needed and I really noticed it in a good way.
Now with that said, I’m clearly not the target audience here and to be honest I’m not necessarily sure who is. I like that they tried to do a modern take on this, but going with animated, I’m not sure your more mainstream fans will dig this. It has a good message it is trying to convey of be yourself for sure as well as families needing to break tradition. I think it has a star-studded voice cast and the animation is pretty solid as well. I liked the soundtrack as a whole with a few songs that really made me chuckle. I did think this was above average overall, but definitely not great.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10