Review: The Addams Family (2019 film)

Posted: October 12, 2019 in Review
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We all know I love the Addams Family, especially the 1960’s sitcom iteration. So of course, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for anything new from the franchise. And when the first trailer for this movie dropped…well, let’s just say I may have been mistaken for a banshee or a werewolf in the Columbus community.

The Addams Family shows the Addams living in New Jersey. Due to past experiences with less-than-tolerant townspeople, they’ve lived in isolation to protect themselves. However, when a new suburb crops up by the Addams’ estate, they have to deal with not only the suburb’s creator/leader, a TV interior decorator, but the temptations and dangers of having to live near people again. All as the Addams prepare for an upcoming celebration in which the whole family will be gathered under one roof.

Before I start, let me just clarify one thing: in this adaptation, Fester is Gomez’s brother again (though whether older or younger is unknown), Grandmama is Gomez and Fester’s mother, and Wednesday is the older sibling again. These relationships can vary from adaptation to adaptation.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me state this: this might be my new favorite adaptation of The Addams Family.

For one thing, the animation really resembles the original Charles Addams cartoons, as well as allows for more crazy happenings during the course of the movie. (Not saying it’s better than any of the live-action versions, which I know a lot of people love, Just saying it looks nice and allows for more creative freedom)

And the story is decent. While it’s the sort of story we’ve seen before–people of different backgrounds learning to find common ground despite a powerful person trying to keep power–it’s done with a lot of heart and creativity here. Not only that, but it allows for a lot of character exploration, particularly with Morticia and Wednesday. The former is dealing with the fact that she can’t protect her child from the world anymore (something a lot of parents are dealing with more and more in a world where social media makes us grow up faster), while Wednesday is confronted with a world she’s unfamiliar with, and is ready to explore it despite her mother’s worries.

What took me by surprise, though, was how much this film’s themes could be applied to today’s world. I know there’s a lot of talk about refugees seeking safety in other countries,* and the Addams could stand in for refugees. In fact, the very first scene depicts them as refugees, fleeing the old country after Gomez and Morticia’s wedding is interrupted by townspeople with pitchforks and torches. The villain of the film could be seen as a stand-in for a lot of politicians or media types who use social media to comment on their issues, and sometimes inflame and direct people to action.

There’s actually a lot to unpack with these films, and it might surprise a few viewers. Granted, sometimes the way the film handles its themes hits us on the head–the new suburb is called “Assimilation,” for one–but for the most part, it’s done pretty well.

And yes, it is extremely funny. And there is an opportunity to snap your fingers and sing the theme song during the film. Trust me, everyone in the audience was doing it.

All that being said, I did have a few issues with the film. There’s a subplot revolving around Pugsley preparing for his Saber Mazurka (basically the Addams’ version of a bar mitzvah), and it feels kind of rushed compared to the other characters’ arcs. You can kind of tell that his arc is an excuse to get all the Addams in one place, and I would’ve liked to see his arc given more attention.

Also, Grandmama is barely in the film, which is a shame because she’s fun to play off other characters, especially Morticia. The villain’s fate…well, without spoilers, it leaves a bit to be desired. And was Snoop Dogg really okay playing Cousin Itt? He’s on screen for two minutes and has maybe three lines, all of which is gibberish. I’d have thought he’d want a bigger role.

But all in all, 2019’s The Addams Family is a fun family film perfect for the Halloween season. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving this one an even 4. Pack up the hellspawn, get in your favorite hearse, and check it out. You should have a blast (though not because of the grenades).

*Due to my day job, I can’t openly comment on issues like that, but anyone who knows me should have some idea of what my views are.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. I love The Addams Family! We have two cats named Wednesday and Pugsley, and our doorbell is the Addams’ foghorn. Thanks for reviewing this one.

  2. I love The Addams Family, especially the original tv series. I wasn’t tempted to see this movie, but after reading your review, I think I might.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s