The Addams Family (2019)
Directed by: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon | 87 minutes | animation, comedy | Dutch voice cast: Paul Groot, Monic Hendrickx, Tjitske Reidinga, Vajèn van den Bosch, Pip Pellens, Roman Derwig, Cees Geel, Raymonde de Kuyper, Lenette van Dongen, Raymond Thiry, Carel Struycken | Original voice cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Titus Burgess, Jenifer Lewis, Elsie Fisher, Conrad Vernon, Aimee Garcia Scott Underwood, Mikey Madison, Chelsea Frei, Pom Klementieff, Deven Green, Maggie Wheeler, Harland Williams
‘They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re all together Ooky, The Addams Family’. Just because of the theme song by composer Vic Mizzy, which is recognizable from thousands, ‘The Addams Family’ has made an indelible impression on many. The ominous yet melodic sounds of the harpsichord, followed by the double snapping of the fingers and that earwig of a text; you participate whether you want to or not. The Addams Family was created in the late 1930s by cartoonist Charles Addams, who saw the creepy family as a wonderfully contrarian response to the smoothed-out model families in the American suburbs. The cartoon was frequently filmed, there were series (live action and animation), books, video games and even a musical. It all depends on your age whether you think of Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston when you hear the names Gomez and Morticia Addams. Are movie viewers still waiting for the adventures of Gomez, Morticia, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, relatives Fester and Itt and the faithful servants Lurch and Thing? At Universal Pictures they think so and so The Addams Family was revived. This time with Oscar Isaac in the role of Gomez, Charlize Theron as Morticia and Chloë Grace Moretz and Finn Wolfhard took on the role of their children. We can see that for ourselves! Unfortunately it is limited to their voices, because ‘The Addams Family’ (2019) is not live action but an animated film, which may be a small disappointment for many.
The central theme in ‘The Addams Family’ is assimilation: the headstrong Addams family is expected to adapt, but has no intention of doing so. At the beginning of the film, we see Gomez and Morticia give each other the yes, but the ceremony is brutally interrupted by all kinds of bunglers with torches and pitchforks who demand that the ‘monstrous scum’ seek refuge elsewhere. The newlyweds flee and rush into an escaped institution who turns out to be Lurch and travels with them to an abandoned haunted castle on a mist-shrouded hill in New Jersey (according to one of the most successful jokes of all time). the makers a place where you don’t want to be found dead). The castle, filled with cobwebs, clouds of dust and secret doors, proves to be the ideal place to live for the couple. Fast forward to thirteen years later: Gomez and Morticia are now parents to daughter Wednesday and son Pugsley, who daily harass each other with bows and arrows, explosives and other weapons. While Wednesday is curious about what goes on outside the gates of The Addams Family Mansion, Pugsley must prepare for his ‘mazurka’, a sword-fighting ritual of adulthood. Something he doesn’t feel like doing at all; he’d rather blow things up. But especially for Gomez, it means a lot when his son shows his best side. Wednesday has now convinced her parents that she can go to school in the neighboring town of Assimilation (!), molded by the crafty TV personality and interior designer Margaux Needler (voice of Allison Janney) into a perfect suburb full of neat houses with neat gardens. The Addams family obviously doesn’t fit her picture perfectly and Margaux is willing to go to great lengths to bully them away.
‘The Addams Family’ weaves together several storylines. The common thread is the maturing of the youngest two members of the family. Both Wednesday and Pugsley look for a way to be themselves: Wednesday is eager to go to school and socialize with other children: she befriends Margaux’s daughter and shocks her parents by wearing a unicorn pin in her hair and in a pink dress. to come home. Pugsley, already a less interesting character than his sister, simply does not manage to master the sword fighting techniques. On top of that comes the storyline around Margaux and her ‘assimilation project’; why she wants all the houses in the town to look alike is not clear. For an animation film that mainly focuses on children, it is quite a lot to oversee. Here and there we see a nice joke or nice visual find (the grumpy house spirit with morning mood is very successful, as is the secretly watching ‘foot porn’ from Thing and weaving the nooses in Wednesdays), but you can count them on one hand and are limited to the first half hour. For the rest, they are tired jokes that pass in review in every version of ‘The Addams Family’. The animations are not heaven-shattering (the backgrounds are even downright ugly here and there) and the characters are also all slightly different than you prefer to see them.
The makers of ‘The Addams Family’, which did very well in American cinemas, have already announced a second part. To give you an idea: these are the same people who released the bawdy animated film ‘Sausage Party’ (2016). ‘The Addams Family’ is certainly not that vulgar (not at all really), but it lacks the much-needed spice and unadulterated charm that made earlier versions of the well-known horror family just so irresistible.