“The Addams Family” is an animated version of the classic series. The voice cast is the strongest foundation of an otherwise familiar story that manages humor to elevate it for the next generation. Kids and adults will find much to appreciate. “The Addams Family” is Recommended.
From a comic strip to a black and white television series, to two feature films, “The Addams Family” has entertained generations. “They’re creepy and they’re kooky,” opens the television show; a theme song so memorable that the audience I saw the latest, now animated version with, snapped their fingers in lock step with the music.
It was clear that the audience was in tune with this not-altogether mysterious nor spooky romp.
This modernized story from Matt Lieberman (“The Christmas Chronicles”) and Pamela Pettler (“Monster House.” “Corpse Bride”) sees the Addams’s forced from their home and into seclusion . . . in New Jersey. Jersey native Lieberman infuses his sensibilities as the family settle into their home, unaware of a creepier plot concerning home designer and technophile, Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) below their lofty, stormy perch.
Crafting an animated film out of Lieberman’s script are co-directors Conrad Vernon (“Shrek 2,” “Sausage Party”) and Greg Tiernan (“Sausage Party”). Their animation history, wit and attention to detail pay homage to the classic television show and the Charles Addams comic strip.
They’ve assembled an exceptional voice cast, capturing the essence of the characters’ legacies while breathing some new life. Much like Will Smith’s attempt to fill bigger shoes when he took on the role of the Genie in “Aladdin,” Oscar Isaac voices Gomez Addams, previously played by John Astin in the TV series and Raul Julia in the 1991 & 1993 film adaptations exceptionally well, bringing his own unique charm to the darkest Romeo this side of the crypt.
Not to be outdone, Charlize Theron voices his cara mia, the dark beauty Morticia, previously played by Carolyn Jones in the TV series and Anjelica Huston in the film adaptations. Theron is a perfect complement to Isaac, bringing a depth to the characters’ dry humor; she is the essence of what Charles Addams envisioned this character to be – “low-voiced, incisive and subtle.”
Morticia’s loyalty to her family is a focal point in this story as children Wednesday (Chloé Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard, “It”) adjust to life in suburban New Jersey. Moretz plays Wednesday as a typical, rebellious teenager, wanting to discover the world for herself, while Pugsley is in training with Gomez and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) for an upcoming family ceremony.
Though I appreciated Wednesday’s journey through the film and I loved seeing Pugsley come into his own, the themes felt a little too on the nose. What positively sealed the crypt’s lid for me on this movie though is the amazing animation; little details that respect the legacy of the Addams family and breathe new life into the franchise for a future generation, right down to replicating John Astin’s facial tick in Gomez. Pay close attention for Martin Short’s and Catherine O’Hara’s cameos.
Realizing just how much the audience was in tune with this film, I confess to having a good time with this iteration. I grew up on reruns of the classic television series and embraced the dark, dramatic theatricality of Sonenfeld’s first film; I’m a fiend for Julia as Gomez and Huston as Morticia as the characters. This is an “Addams Family” for the next generation, but it has enough charm, grace and wit to please those who grew up on it.”
“The Addams Family” (2019)
Directed by: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Screenplay by: Matt Lieberman and Pamela Pettler
Story by: Conrad Vernon, Matt Lieberman and Erica Rivinoja, based on Characters created by Charles Addams
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloé Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bettle Middler, Allison Janney,
PG, 87 minutes, A MGM/BRON Creative Release