Starring a near perfect cast, The Addams Family tells the story about an unusual family in an unusual (for them) new town.
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky…” as the theme song goes. After a few years off of television and movie screens, The Addams Family, a gothic family with horror elements within their circle, are back in a new animated feature for a new age. With a cast that could not be more perfect, good animation and some decent jokes, the film is indeed enjoyable, although it has many flaws that pervade this edgy (but not edgy enough) movie
The film concerns the titular family Gomez, played by Oscar Isaac and Morticia (Charlize Theron) having just gotten married, before being chased out of their traditional home by an angry mob for being “weird” according to the locals. To escape from the torches and pitchforks of the “regular people,” they move to the most hideous place they can think of: a converted abandoned insane asylum in New Jersey. From there they live “peacefully” with their hand servant, Thing, and the asylum’s lone living resident turned butler, Lurch, played by co-director Conrad Vernon and later having their 2 children, their solemn and blunt daughter Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and their explosive loving son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).
13 years later however, as the family is planning for a family celebration that would see Pugsly become a man in the eyes of the whole family, they discover a small town called “Assimilation” built by HGTV-esque reality show host Margaux Needler for her next big project right at the foot of the hill their house is. And when the town meets the reclusive “creepy” family, tensions begin to boil, both from within and without both sides.
Impeccably animated, the films style mimics that of the original New Yorker cartoons. Despite being cgi, the animation is given similar rules to 2d, such as the utilizations of squash and stretch for certain comedic moments. Whatever plastic look objects within are deliberate, as the town of Assimilation feels creepy in its own way, with vibes of artificiality and conformity that makes the Addams Family, despite their (sometimes literal) creature comforts, seem natural by comparison.
The cast is probably the best part of the film. It’s good to the point where they could have easily played these characters in live action and be non the worse. This especially goes to Issacs and Theron in their roles, convincingly portraying a couple who very much care for each other (in their own way). Nick Kroll also deserves some spotlight as Uncle Fester, the adorably naive uncle, who has his own lovable but odd quirkiness.
The comedy also works very well, although not 100% of the time. Certain jokes involving Thing were definite causes of laughter, as well as some very funny sight gags throughout. Thankfully the film doesn’t loose all of its edgy morbid humour, though it has noticeably dulled, possibly to accommodate a more family oriented audience that the film appears to be targeting.
The dullness of The Addams Family does come across in its story. The film is rather warm hearted, at times contradicting the tone the family displays across other media. Certain characters will do something wrong or reprehensible, but will receive a proper happy end to it regardless.
The message of the film, while it may be more personal for some than others, is not exactly subtle and can be easily seen coming if you are above the age of a teenager. This also means the story is predictable, following similar beats and motions to some other animated movies, even if the style and timing is different.
Some of the reactions of the characters can be a bit out of touch with who they are, such as the certain times the family will get hurt and they will either act with glee/nonchalance, or react negatively. And in some cases moments where they shouldn’t react negatively.
The Addams Family might not have a complete grasp of the tone that these characters are usually associated with, and may need to polish its script and characters a bit more, but for an animated family film involving slapstick, light morbid humour and colourful designs and animation, you could definitely see a lot worse, especially with a property like The Addams Family.
It just perhaps needs to be more creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky.