After so many attempts at making feature films out of old TV series have failed, the handful that actually are successful and creative stand out. In recent times, “The Addams Family” is certainly one of the best. Director Barry Sonnenfeld (who recently failed with the adaptation of the show “Wild, Wild West”) is at his best here, and he’s lucky to be surrounded with the perfect cast.
We’re introduced to the family; Morticia(perfectly played by Angelica Huston), Gomez (a wonderful performance with great energy by Raul Julia) and the two children, Wednesday(a perfect Christina Ricci) and Pugsley. Instead of the usual fights between children, the two go after one another with deadly weapons. And in the film’s best non-speaking role we have Thing, a hand that races around the house and acts as sort of a family pet. There’s also the film’s other “star”, the Addams mansion, which has been built down to the last detail.The plot revolves around the “appearance” of Gomez’s long-lost brother, Uncle Fester. This Fester (Christopher Lloyd) though, is an impostor, planning to raid the Addams vault and the plan is brought together by the family lawyer (Dan Hedaya).
The movie occasionally has a few slow points, but it’s a lot of fun and the performers seem to have enjoyed their roles as well. The cinematography (Sonnenfeld was the cinematographer for the Coen Brothers on films like “Raising Arizona” before going to directing in this, his first feature) is a lot of fun as the camera rockets through the various halls of the house. It’s the performances though, that capture the characters perfectly. A very good first directing effort from Sonnenfeld.
VIDEO: Paramount has been two for two so far this week. First they did a wonderful job on Double Jeopardy, which has incredibly strong image quality. Now, their efforts with The Addams Family are just the slightest bit less than perfect. The anamorphic transfer on “Addams” is remarkable, bringing forth every detail of the fantastic sets. Images are consistently sharp and clear. The film’s dark color palette looks absolutely perfect, and the flaws are very minor – there are a couple of small marks on the print used, but that’s about it. There are no instances of shimmering or pixelation for an image that’s incredibly enjoyable.
SOUND: The sound also lived up to my expectations perfectly. Surrounds are used often – creatively and effectively. The score by Marc Shaiman sounds wonderful, clear and with great presence. It’s simply a lot of fun; you can hear every detail of Thing scurrying around the room. Dialogue remains natural and clear throughout as well. A lot of fun and containing some great sequences.
MENUS:: If anything should have animated main menus, it’s this movie. There could have been so many wonderfully creepy effects or animation that could introduce the viewer to the movie, but unfortunately, Paramount has chosen to simply use the cover art for the main menu.
The Film B-
Video 95/A = (380/400 possible points)
Audio: 92/A = (368/400 possible points)
Extras: 70/C- = (210/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)