Conrad Vernon started his career as a storyboard artist on Cool World but may be best known as creating and voicing the Gingerbread Man from the Shrek movies. He also co-directed Sausage Party before starting work on this reboot of Addams, who you may remember from the Charles Addams newspaper strips (which started all the way back in 1938), the 1964-1966 TV series or the three films made in the 1990’s, The Addams Family, Addams Family Values and the direct-to-video Addams Family Reunion.
There’s a cute origin story at the beginning of this film, as Gomez (Oscar Issac from the new Star Wars films) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) escape the old country thanks to help from Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll). As they travel to New Jersey, they soon meet Lurch (Vernon). In truth, they move to Westfield, as that’s where creator Charles Addams grew up.
As we move forward a few years, we meet their children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard, who must have the Richard Moll in the 80’s deal to be in nearly every movie that comes out). Pugsley is about to enact the ritual of the Mazurka, which is a sword dancing exhibition that proves that he is man enough to defend his family. It’s kind of like the Addams version of a bar mitzvah.
Meanwhile, reality TV host Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) is creating a town called Assimilation down the hill from the Addams mansion and wants to rid her perfect town of the family.
The message here is that everyone should be unique, which is nice for kids to hear, and that even strange people like the Addams can be a family that loves one another.
There’s plenty of fun voice talent in this, like Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, Bette Midler as Grandmama and Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara as Morticia’s parents.
I really enjoyed how the look of this film appears more like the actual comic strip than the TV show, although the end, where the cast appears in the original credits, is a delight.