The Addams Family (and subsequently Addams Family Values) was always going to be a difficult film to revitalise; it remains a cult classic of the mid-90s, led by its stunning performances from Anjelica Houston and Christina Richie. Therefore, audiences were always going to be sceptical of the new and somewhat disconcerting aesthetic of the new Addams family. To its credit, this new Addams Family film does not attempt to replicate whatever adaptations have come before it, as it updates the original cartoons to an animated style which rids the family of their more recent adaptations more palatable appearance.
However, upon viewing, the new interpretation which directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon have chosen, even with the stellar cast (Charlize Theron, Oscar Issac, Chloe Grace Moretz and Finn Wolfhard), results in the family losing what made them so watchable originally; the heart and connection that binds all the characters together. While some performances do well – Moretz nails Wednesday’s disillusioned antipathy – others fall flat. Theron doesn’t embody the power and elegance of Morticia, and the dialogue between her and Gomez doesn’t crackle and spark in the way that it is meant to. Morticia and Gomez are meant to be outrageously in love with each other, in their own gothic, campy way, but the family unit comes across as forced and almost gimmicky, and a borderline imitation of previous incarnations.
As a family movie, it entertains. The plot, though predictable and seemingly an amalgamation of every other family animated comedy, has everything there to help viewers reach a satisfying ending, yet ultimately, for a film based around misfits and weirdos, the contrivances of the paint by numbers plot drag the family down to the level of those normal people that they so frequently mock.
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