Remaking movies and shows that are considered to be classics can go one of two ways. It either becomes an instant hit all over again by giving us a new and exciting twist to an old story or it gets thrown down the bottomless pit of the Addams’ basement. Nevertheless, producers Conrad Vernon, Gail Berman and Alexandra Schwartz have done a marvelous job at finding that balance of the classic, antisocial dark glee that the Addams embody with a mix of millennial culture that is enjoyable for both kids and adults.
Originating from the drawings and cartoons of Charles Addams, the Addams Family story has been traveling through Hollywood ever since it premiered on ABC in 1964. It started off as a series of episodes and was transformed into multiple movies and even musical productions. The most commonly known version that people recognize is the 1991 version, directed by none other than Barry Sonnenfeld. 55 years later, we have returned to enjoy the finger-snapping song all over again except this time, animated.
Each adaption of the Addams Family is distinct from each other because its production reflects different eras of technology while retaining the gloomy characters we love. Although this film’s plot slightly differs from the 1991 classic and the sitcoms that older generations might be used to, this animated masterpiece is able to reach a younger audience by giving us a taste of the Addams Family values but through a modern lens.
The film begins with the lanky but glamorous Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) and her curious and rather short, goofy-looking husband, Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac), being chased away by a mob after exchanging their morbid but humorous vows. This creates a nice transition by informing us of how their family came to be. Eventually, Morticia and Gomez come across an abandoned asylum on a gloomy, steep hill which they find as a perfect home to raise their daughter, Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).
The family, which includes their helping hand, Gomez’s brother, mother and their servant Lurch, who is modeled after Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s monster, have spent the last 13 years sulking peacefully until a group of people begin to settle in the neighborhood below the hill. It is no coincidence that this neighborhood is called “Assimilation” and seeks to create a community where all houses and all people are the same. This is a fabulous juxtaposition between the ghastly and dark Addams family and the neighborhood full of pink, bright and upbeat citizens. Problems begin to arise when the leader of this seemingly perfect neighborhood, Margaux, voiced by Allison Janney, attempts to assimilate the Addams as well. Without any spoilers, the film unravels the underlying themes of xenophobia and teaches children not to judge those who are different while reminding parents the same.
Although it is a children’s movie, rest assured that there are enough gruesome acts of violence to remind us how truly gothic the Addams are. The movie is filled with guillotines, fake blood, dynamite and every other tormenting device one can think of. As for adults, the Apple watch on the helping hand and the film’s subtle jabs at our growing reliance on social media and technology is enough to make any parent actually pay attention and even laugh at the millennial version of the Addams family. When the devious Margaux fails at assimilating the Addams into her mold of a town, she spreads fake information about them through an app that keeps the neighborhood informed of crime around the area. Using fake profiles, Margaux makes up lies about the family to instigate problems and the people of the town began to panic, screaming “We need to do something about those Addams because I believe everything I read on the internet!” Sadly, a lot of people do, which made this scene much funnier.
Fortunately and without any spoilers, the film ends with a warm, humanizing moment filled with gloomy cuteness that leaves children and everyone else in the audience feeling good. It captures the Addams Family values that all Americans can relate to in a new animated version.
Verdict: This hilarious animated Halloween treat is filled with fresh, dark and modern humor while still paying tribute to the strange and peculiar family that has been loved by many generations. The magnificent animation paired with a sweet and teaching storyline is the perfect movie to watch whether you are old or young!