The Addams Family movie review: Poor animation, simplistic storytelling and silly subplots make it a dreary watch

Mihir Fadnavis

Nov 02, 2019 09:50:58 IST


The Addams Family has always been a series that flew under the radar of pop culture, never quite reaching the heights that it should have. The original black and white series was masterful to say the least, and Barry Sonnenfeld’s films in the 90s were delightfully pitch black comedies. The show on Cartoon Network was a heck of a lot of fun as well. It is not a surprise, therefore, to see Hollywood making another stab at making the franchise a money machine – this time in animated form. The results, however are hit and miss.

 The Addams Family movie review: Poor animation, simplistic storytelling and silly subplots make it a dreary watch

Still from The Addams Family. YouTube

Like in the Hotel Transylvania films, The Addams Family gets a goofy computer animation horror comedy makeover with an array of recognizable names voicing the characters. Those familiar with the source material will slip right into the story like gloves on a hand, but directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan do a good job of holding newcomers’ hands and gently guiding them into the universe.

We’re introduced to Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) who move to a creepy mansion in the suburbs along with their children Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), as well as the legendary Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), the butler Lurch (Conrad Vernon).

The film doesn’t try too hard in constructing a complex narrative – things are quite simplistic and the story chugs along with the coal fire of a series of silly sub plots. There is a ‘villain’ in the film whose identity is best kept secret, but there isn’t much traction gained with this character beyond giving the Addams family the opportunity to be the heroes despite being cast away from society because they love ghouls. The jokes come fast and fluidly, making this an undemanding watch but also one that renders decent fan service for those who grew up watching these charmingly supernatural folks.

The attempts at social commentary, like in most animated movies that do this, fall completely flat, and even get annoying during the treacly moments. The Addams Family has so much character and texture by itself, it feels superfluous to inject a layer of political correctness in such an outlandish setup. It’s understandable that the filmmakers are trying to target children with this film but by doing so they dilute the risqué nature of the source material. The animation itself seems low budget and rough compared to what we see on the big screen nowadays; it is also not attractive enough to keep kids – for whom this film is made, invested due to the dull palette and an outdated look and feel. Blandness proves to be the Achilles' heel here, which frankly is a far more disturbing movie monster than any of the ones in the film.

So is this film worth watching in the theaters? Absolutely – if you’re a die hard fan of the Addams. But if you’re looking for anything that rises above the cloud of assembly made filmmaking that is built upon a bedrock of an utter lack of risk taking, this may not be the film for you.

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Updated Date: Nov 02, 2019 09:53:25 IST