Sunday, February 19, 2012

#552. The Addams Family (1991)

Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd

Tag line: "Weird is relative"

Trivia:  Cher wanted to play the role of "Morticia", but Anjelica Huston was cast instead

For the last 25 years, poor Uncle Fester has been missing from the Addams family home, a residence jam-packed with a number of bizarre luxuries, not the least of which is a hand-servant (make that a severed hand-servant) named Thing, which brings new meaning to the term “odd jobs”. In an effort to gain access to the enormous Addams fortune, the family’s shifty lawyer (Dan Hedeya) conspires with a crooked doctor (Elizabeth Wilson) to disguise the doctor’s son, Gordon (Christopher Lloyd), so that he resembles the long-lost Fester. At first, it looks as if their plan will go off without a hitch when Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia Addams (Angelica Huston) welcome the phony Fester with open arms, but their youngest daughter, Wednesday, (Christina Ricci) has some doubts concerning the true identity of her 'prodigal' uncle. 

Visually, The Addams Family is dazzling. The vast set pieces that adorn the Addams home, like the family safe that can only be accessed by way of a gondola, are really quite amazing. Along with the sets, Director Barry Sonnenfeld relies on a variety of clever camera angles to keep things hopping, perhaps the most interesting of which is the ‘Thing-Cam’, where we follow Thing as he scurries through the house on all fives. I was also impressed with the sense of the macabre that takes over The Addams Family from time to time, a morbidity that always adds to the humor. In the middle of a rather dull school play, Wednesday and her brother, Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), stage a pirate sword fight, complete with severed limbs and gallons of blood spattering onto the unsuspecting audience. 

Thanks to the efforts of a good many people, including set decorator John Sweeney and Special Effects supervisor Mike Edmundson, the zaniness of the original Addams Family television series isn't just recaptured for The Addams Family, it's expanded upon, creating a unique experience in which a sitcom mentality is presented within the confines of a big-budget motion picture. 

Yes, the Addams family is still creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky…only now, much more so.


Ian Montgomery said...

Such a fun movie. It got a lot of VCR time during my childhood. I remember always getting excited when the Mamushka scene came on. And when nobody was looking, sometimes I would dance along with it.

The movie helped in launching the careers of Christina Ricci and Barry Sonnenfeld and helped end Raul Julia's career with a bang. And Christopher Lloyd....holy cow, I can hardly believe that was him. What's not to like, really?

DVD Infatuation said...

Ian: Thanks for stopping by!

I couldn't agree with you more. This movie is a flat-out good time, with some great individual scenes (and while I myself never had the urge to dance, I can certainly understand you feeling that way).

Thanks again