Northampton Press

Friday, November 15, 2019
CONTRIBUTED Photo COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURESFrom left, Gomez Addams, Uncle Fester, Wednesday Addams, Morticia Adsams, Thing, Lurch, Pugsley Addams, Grandma, “The Addams Family” 2019 animated feature film. CONTRIBUTED Photo COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURESFrom left, Gomez Addams, Uncle Fester, Wednesday Addams, Morticia Adsams, Thing, Lurch, Pugsley Addams, Grandma, “The Addams Family” 2019 animated feature film.

Movie Review: ‘Addams Family’: Snap, snap

Friday, November 8, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

At the Addams Family household, it’s Halloween all-year-round.

“The Addams Family” animation feature film celebrates that, especially with the theme song.

You know: That rolling melody (dah, dah ... dah, dun) and then two snaps of the fingers.

It was the theme song, written by Vic Mizzy, for “The Addams Family” TV show (1964 - 1966).

The theme song has been a part of pop culture for 55 years. The Addams Family characters have been with us for 81 years.

Snap, snap.

The television series starred John Astin and Carolyn Jones. There was a TV animated series (1973, 1992 - 1993) and a TV movie (1977).

Theatrical feature films, “The Addams Family” (1991) and “Addams Family Values” (1993), starred Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston.

“Addams Family Reunion” (direct-to-video, 1998; 1998-1999 TV series) starred Tim Curry and Daryl Hannah.

A Broadway show (2010-2011) starred Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.

Snap, Snap.

The gimmick with “The Addams Family,” other than the theme song, is casting actors who most closely resemble the appearance of the characters in the cartoon panels drawn by American cartoonist Charles Addams (1938 - 1988) that ran in New Yorker magazine.

In the latest version, Computer-Generated-Imagery matches quite well the original Charles Addams characters.

The actor’s voices for the animated are quite good: Oscar Isaac (Gomez Addams), Charlize Theron (Morticia Addams), Chloe Grace Moretz (Wednesday Addams), Finn Wolfhard (Pugsley Addams), Nick Kroll (Uncle Fester), Snoop Dogg (Coousin Itt), Bette Midler (Grandma, originally Grandmama) and Conrad Vernon (Lurch).

The voice talent includes Allison Janney (Margaux Needler), Martin Short (Grandpa Frump), Catherine O’Hara (Grandma Frump), Tituss Burgess (Glenn), Jenifer Lewis (Great Auntie Sloom), Elsie Fisher (Parker) and Aimee Garcia (Denise).

The character animation includes Thing (a disembodied hand), also from the Charles Addams’ cartoons.

The storyline in “The Addams Family” animated feature film is rather clever. Margaux Needler, host of a reality TV makeover show, offers to transform the spooky Addams Family house. When the Addams Family rejects the offer, Margaux seeks revenge. Meanwhile, Wednesday leaves the house to stay at a friend’s house.

The CGI animation in “The Addams Family” is excellent. The surface features of the family’s house interior, the clothing and accessories on the characters, and the facial and body movement of the characters are really well-done. Also, the perspectives in many scenes are imaginative, including high-angles, low-angles and off-kilter angles.

In the Addams’ Family humor tradition, there are literal puns in the screenplay, as when it’s noted that something will make Pugsley climb the wall and then Pugsley is shown climbing the wall inside the house.

Certain depictions of violence might be a concern, especially for younger movie-goers. There are knife and sword fights, axe-throwing and use of projectiles and explosives by the Addams’ children characters, often aimed at other characters. In one scene, Wednesday is shown reading a book titled “Medieval Torture Technology.” Not funny.

And that’s the thing about “The Addams Family” in its many iterations. Thing, a disembodied hand, is funny because of the context in which it appears, usually as an element of surprise. A disembodied hand in real life is a tragedy.

The live-action movie, the TV show and, of course, Charles Addams, understood macabre humor. The Addams Family is best when presented in the sense of “wink, wink, nudge, nudge.” You know it’s not real and that’s why it’s comical.

In “The Addams Family” animation feature, some of the depictions of the action, even though animated, are too realistic.

The movie is directed by Greg Tiernan (director, “Sausage Party,” 2016; TV’s “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends,” 2010 - 2015) and Conrad Vernon (director, “Sausage Party,” Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” 2012; “Monsters vs. Aliens,” 2009; “Shrek 2,” 2004)

The screenplay is by Matt Lieberman (“The Christmas Chronicles,” 2018) and Pamela Pettler (“Monster House,” 2006; “Corpse Bride,” 2005) based on a story by Conrad Vernon (story, “Monsters vs. Aliens”), Erica Rivinoja (story, “Girls Trip,” 2017; screenplay, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” 2013) and Matt Lieberman, based on characters created by Charles Addams.

No spoiler alerts, but here’s a fun alert. At the end of the film, “The Addams Family” theme song is sung, and the lyrics are shown, with Thing following the words ala a bouncing ball.

Go ahead, sing along. You know you want to.

Snap, snap.

If finger-snaps, instead of popcorn boxes, were given for this movie review, “The Addams Family” would get two snaps.

“The Addams Family,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action; Genre: Animation, Comedy; Run Time: 1 hr., 26 min.; Distributed by United Artists Releasing.

Credit Readers Anonymous: The soundtrack includes “Symphony No. 5,” Ludwig van Beethoven; “Toccata and Fugue in D minor,” Johann Sebastian Bach; “The Entertainer,” Scott Joplin; “Messiah,” George Frideric Handel, and “Haunted Heart,” Antonina Armato, Christina Aguilera and Tim James and sung by Christina Aguilera. She’s in good company.

Box Office, Nov. 1-3: “Terminator: Dark Fate” was back, at No. 1, opening with a less-than-expected $29 million, shoving “Joker” down one place to No. 2, with $13.9 million, $299.6 million, five weeks, as “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” flew down one place to No. 3, with $12.1 million, $84.3 million, three weeks, and “Harriet,” the biopic about Harriet Tubman, opened at No. 4 with $12 million, one week.

5. “The Addams Family” dropped two places, $8.4 million, $85.2 million, four weeks. 6. “Zombieland: Double Tap” dropped two places, $7.3 million, $59.3 million, three weeks. 7. “Countdown” moved down two places, $5.8 million, $17.7 million, two weeks. 8. “Black and Blue” dropped two places, $4 million, $15.4 million, two weeks. 9. “Motherless Brooklyn,” $3.6 million, opening. 10. “Arctic Dogs,” $3.1 million, opening.

Unreel, Nov. 8:

“Doctor Sleep,” R: Mike Flanagan directs Rebecca Ferguson, Ewan McGregor, Carel Struycken and Jacob Tremblay in the Horror film. In the sequel to author Stephen King’s “The Shining” (1980), the adult Dan Torrance encounters a young girl with similar powers.

“Last Christmas,” PG-13: Paul Feig directs Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh in the Comedy Romance. Kate, working as a department store Santa’s elf, meets the man of her dreams.

“Midway,” PG-13: Roland Emmerich directs Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Dennis Quaid in the Action War Drama about the Battle of Midway in World War II.

“Honey Boy,” R: Alma Har’el directs Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe and Byron Bowers in the Drama. A young actor tries to reconcile with his father.

“Playing with Fire,” PG: Andy Fickman directs John Cena, Judy Greer, Keegan-Michael Key and Brianna Hildebrand in the Comedy. Firefighters rescue three children.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes