Time to Get Kooky with The Addams Family

15 Oct


Image result for addams family movie posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Every couple of years, some entertainment mogul wants to bring The Addams Family back to the public consciousness. They can’t be buried and It’s impossible to change their ways; they’re wonderfully spooky and kooky. As for whether that’s with recognized talents or voice-over gurus in the roles, Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Morticia (Charlize Theron), Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) are what they are. To bring to life the quintessential elements of what they are to a any kind of stage has artist Charles Addams grinning from the grave.

The Addams are an off kilter family with a love for the macabre. They live their lifestyle in all its supernatural glory which include staying in a haunted house that wants them out. It’s not expected to learn Wednesday will one day leave the flock. Years of isolation has her curious about the outside world and establish an identity of her own. As with any movie with a tween as its star, it’s time to explore.

As intros are quickly dispensed with to familiarize newcomers to these folks and bring Lurch (Conrad Vernon) into the fold, the story at hand is also on Pugsley’s rite of passage–to do the Mazurka, a sword dance–to become a full on Addams. As the narrative swings back and forth between these two tales in this day in the life, the main plot is on how reality TV host Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) wants her new town picture postcard perfect. Her agenda shows she’s just as unbalanced as the family she wants to oust.

Image result for addams family cgi

The film examines how to accept one another for all his or her flaws more so than following the sitcom formula. It tries to be funny, but half the humour falls flat. Previous takes were generally pure comedy, especially during the Hanna-Barbera years.

I doubt we’ll see a soap operatic version ala Dark Shadows and The Munsters were this family’s competition when they became a television show. A bit of the original ’64 take with John Astin and Carolyn Jones as the leads could be detected, but it’s hard to beat the big budgeted movie version with Raul Julia as Gomez, Anjelica Huston as Morticia. The Canadian made The New Addams Family got a nod and this I appreciated since I watched this version religiously; the kids–Wednesday and Pugsley’s violent tendencies made this version enjoyable–and it’s often Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) who received the end of the stick. Sadly, he and Grandmama (Bette Midler) doesn’t get invited to become part of the household until later in the film.

As for whether a streaming (or television) follow-up will take place, only time will tell. With multiple studios involved in this production, I feel that’s unlikely. The focus is with the kids and the film is more of a lead up to the musical than anything else.

3 and one partially broken gravestone out of 5

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