Cue the classic Addams Family snaps for the kookiest family making a comeback to the big screen this October. The famously ghoulish Addams Family made its debut in 1938 as black and white cartoons made by American cartoonist Charles Addams. Fast forward 81 years, and the family has had a profound influence on movies, Broadway shows, American comics, television series and more.
The newest rendition of the family hit theaters Oct. 11 as an animated motion picture, simply called “The Addams Family.” Over the years, the family’s story has always portrayed the Addams family being comfortable with living as monsters and the outside world having an issue with it, which most of the humor stems from. The directors, Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, converted that message into modern-day by introducing the villain, an HGTV-like talk show host named Margaux played by Allison Janney.
It was surprising that the directors didn’t go with a live-action version of the movie because, based solely on the actors playing the mysterious Addams clan, it was spot-on casting. Oscar Isaac voiced Gomez, Charlize Theron voiced Morticia, Chloë Grace Moretz played Wednesday, Finn Wolfhard voiced Pugsley, Bette Midler voiced Grandma and Snoop Dogg voiced It.
Tiernan and Vernon wanted to make some aspects of the film different and new compared to the original. In an interview with Screen Rant, Vernon said, “We haven't seen how Morticia and Gomez met, when they got married, how they found their house – just some really fun little things to play with that I haven't ever seen in any of these iterations before.” The directors started this quest for originality with a scene showing the background story of how Gomez and Morticia’s family came to be.
After depicting the marriage of Gomez and Morticia and the way they found their goth Addams manse in New Jersey, the film fast forwards 13 years to the birth of Wednesday and Pugsley and continues by introducing Uncle Fester and Grandma.
Margaux then builds a housing subdivision called Assimilation, and when she sees the cold, depressing Addams family house, she wants the house and family to disappear for fear of losing potential home sales.
Overall, the sweet, light and innocent nature of the film maintains the message of not being scared of someone just because they look different from you. The Addams family demonstrates what it means to be a good neighbor through acceptance of all kinds.
Even though the film did add glimpses of adult humor, like Thing scrolling online looking at other beautiful body parts, this version of “The Addams Family” geared mostly toward children with the blunt animation and other child-like aspects of the film. The modernized movie seemed to be targeted toward the youngest generation that does not know who the Addams Family is or what they stand for.
While the choice to go for an animated version worked well in paying tribute to the original cartoons from Charles Addams, Tiernan and Vernon didn’t do anything well beyond that. Unfortunately, it was a sloppy story with the tacky touch of Margaux and the mediocre writing by Matt Lieberman failing to deliver the quirky lines “The Addams Family” is known for. It was a soft and mushy story of acceptance and would be considered average with lackluster creativity — nothing stood out or was special about the script. Lieberman failed to write these characters in a way that captured the magic shown in past iterations of the family.
The film undoubtedly directs its full attention to kids, and it doesn’t doesn’t give the adults the full interpretation of the dark, mysterious and revolutionary original Addams family. The 87-minute film would be ranked after many of the previous versions, like the original “The Addams Family” black and white comedy sitcom produced in 1964 and “Addams Family Values,” released in 1993. Even though the movie didn’t live up to those standards, parents taking their children must recognize that this film is not directed toward their demographic — the animated film is meant for children who are experiencing this prominent family for the first time.