Director: Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan
Script: Matt Lieberman
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Jenney, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara
Running time: 87 minutes
Beginning with Gomez and Morticia Adams trying to get wed before having their wedding hijacked by local villagers wielding fiery torches, the two escape from their mountain home and end up in New Jersey to begin a new life in an old run-down asylum on a hill-top surrounded by steaming swampland.
13 years later, and the weird couple now have two children, Wednesday and Pugsley, and have adopted one of the escaped inmates from the asylum, namely their imposing butler, Lurch. They are happy in their shared misery until an ambitious property developer/TV presenter drains the swamp and builds a desirable (to some) new suburb there. These two very differing factions clash from thereon in with hilarious consequences…
Rather than go into detail about the plot, such as it is, I just wanted to talk about the film in general. The Addams Family is an animated version of the on-going saga concerning a family of freaks who live outside of normal society’s conventions and thrive on all the sorts of things that most people tend to avoid. For example, they enjoy dirt and dust, playing with explosives and sharp objects, see torture as an expression of affection to one another, and are happy to live in a haunted house with a lion as a pet.
It’s these strange quirks that make the Addams family so engaging and loveable in a peculiar way. In fact, I’ve always been drawn towards the likes of the Addams family, and the similar Munsters, since I was a kid, hence my interest in reviewing this title. Based on the characters created by Charles Adams for his comic strip back in 1938, and taken from a story developed by Matt Lieberman, Erica Rivinoja and Conrad Vernon, this particular version is a lot of fun for all the family.
The animation – although computer-based – is nicely rendered and has plenty of character, with some really nice details included in the locations and props that the family inhabit and utilise. This Blu-ray release nicely brings out the vivid and not so vivid colours, which really ping out of the screen at you.
The film’s humour – and there’s plenty of it – is a nice mix of stuff that young kids will enjoy and more subtle humour that parents will appreciate too. Lurch, one of my favourite characters, gets a fair bit of air time too, whether it’s sitting reading ‘Little Women’ in his padded cell or ‘dusting’ the house – whereby he’s spreading dust onto everything!
There are jokes that don’t work so well, but overall the hit rate for gags is high and scarcely a minute goes by go where you won’t be either smiling or laughing. The delivery of said jokes is aided immeasurably by a great voice cast, in particular Oscar Isaac (Gomez), Charlize Theron (Morticia), and Chloe Grace Moretz (Wednesday).
Directors Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan have done a good job overall of bringing The Addams Family into the new century with some fun references to both social media and online porn, in this case when Thing (the disembodied hand) is caught ‘looking’ at ‘foot porn’!
Universal is distributing The Addams Family on Blu-Ray and has provided some decent special features including:
- Deleted or extended scenes – Four very different scenes, all at different stages of development. They are worth taking a look at, but I can see why they were dropped.
- Charades with the Thing (5 mins) – Does exactly what it says on the tin, featuring The Thing taking us through some charades clues for a bit of interactive fun
- Life of a scene (3.5 mins) – A quick look at the different stages of animation from storyboarding through to final lighting effects
- Welcome to the family (6 mins) – A talking heads style ‘behind the scenes’ mini doc featuring several members of the key cast and directors, etc.
- Addams Family Throwback (1 min) – A quick look at some of Charles Adams’ original comic artwork from the thirties and forties. There should have been more of this.
- Haunted Heart Lyric video (2.5 mins) – A music video for the rather cool song from the movie.
- My Family Lyric video (1 min) – Another music video for the rather less cool song from the film!