Monday, October 3, 2011

Movie Series Review: The Addams Family

Hello and welcome to a new little review thing I’m doing, where I take a look at a series of movies and get the reviews done in one post rather than multiples. Normally I’ll talk about the series as a whole first, and then get into the individual movies, then move into my final thoughts. To kick things off I’m going to take a look at The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values.

Based off the old television series, I do remember watching reruns when I was a little kid and liking it. But what I feel for the television series is nothing when compared to the two movies; I adore them and personally think the sequel is as good as the original thanks a consistency fostered between them. Both movies are directed by Barry Sonnenfield this allows for a visual style to carry through to both movies. A real dark comedic atmosphere is created, and exploited to draw in adults while still appealing to kids with the more absurd stuff.

He's a real lady killer. Acquitted mind you.
Cast wise we have the late great Raul Julia inhabiting the role of Gomez. It’s amazing how he can take this deeply demented persona and yet put so much charisma into him, that we can’t help but like this acquitted lady killer. Angelica Huston is graceful and brings a lady like class to Morticia. She also has impeccable comedic timing, being cold most the time and then breaking out the emotion at just the perfect moment for maximum laughs. Christopher Lloyd is having a ball with both films and unlike the other members of the main cast gets to play two different variations of the character between the movies. While Raul Julia brings some suave charisma to his role to lesson the bad qualities, Lloyd brings a lovable goofiness to Fester. Jimmy Workman and Christina Ricci as Pugsley and Wednesday play off each brilliantly and you really do get a brother and sister vibe from them. It’s also obvious how great an actress Christina Ricci would become, and it’s no wonder Wednesday was given more to do during the sequel.

While the writing is sharp, I really do believe that the movies are as good as they are thanks to the director and cast. If one of those things were changed then it would have all been shot as the idea alone of the Addams Family isn’t strong enough to carry the movie. If you want an example you can always watch the third movie in the series, a straight to video effort called Addams Family Reunion. It’s bad. That’s all I got on that one so let’s take a look at the two movies.

The Addams Family (1991)

I’ve heard people be down on this movie more than the sequel because of the plot of the movie. Basically Tully Alford and Abigail Craven want to cheat the Addams Family out of their vast fortune. Fortunately Abigails son Gordon looks just like Fester Addams who was lost at sea. Inserting Gordon into the family as long lost Fester, they hope to find the vault with all the money and make off with lots of money. The fact that Fester wasn’t Fester got some people hopping mad, but it all works in the story, and while you could nit pick the plot, and ask if it was necessary to start off this way, the comedy is strong enough to really dispel any worry. Also at the end of the day the movie struck a cord with a lot of people and was successful enough to warrant a sequel.

Addams Family Values (1993)

Two years later, the sequel hit and it wasn’t as successful as the last one. I think one of the main reasons was this movie was darker than the original, and that was saying something. We have a plot that deals with a black widow serial killer, and a sub plot of Pugsley & Wednesday being sent to summer camp because they are trying to kill the latest Addams, Pubert. Yep a lot darker than a heist like story. But personally I love the sequel as everyone has gotten better with their comedic timing, the kids are given a substantial increase in the plot duties, and the addition of both Pubert to the family adds a new dynamic that keeps things fresh. Also there is Joan Cusack. She plays Debbie Jellinsky who is the black widow like serial killer I was mentioning, and she has a ball. She plays off every member of the family well, and she brings such a funny yet darkly demented persona, it feels like she was always meant to be part of the Addams Family.

Really. Pastels?
Final Thoughts: I highly recommend these two movies. They are great comedies, and thanks to the consistency of the people involved they really do flow together well. Hire both out and sit back and watch with some friends. Just remember to hum and click along with the theme song. Oh and maybe do the Addams Family MC Hammer rap, cause we all know that’s damn cool.

Finally I shall leave you with the dance of brotherly love, the Mamushka!


  1. I'm a fan of Raul Julia and Angelica Huston, and I loved seeing the in the Addams Family movies. And regardless of what some people might say, they're fun.

  2. I know he has a great body of work, but I'll always remember Raul Julia as Gomez.