After the sad death of brilliant actor Raul Julia, the “Addams Family” film series was put to rest, despite both films being big commercial hits for their respective years. Almost immediately, Paramount sold the rights to the series to, baffling enough, Saban Entertainment. Saban, of course, is known for producing cheap but popular kids entertainment like “Power Rangers” and “Digimon.” The Saban label at the opening is almost a black mark on the entire movie, as the reboot of the reboot is a bargain basement third entry in to the series with all the cast replaced save for Lurch. The dark and Gothic aesthetic is missing, and comically sinister tone the series perfects is considerably watered down with the film feeling less like Tim Burton, and more like the terrible pilot to a show that never quite took off.
With the success of the first installment of the nineties “Addams Family” (however minimal), a sequel was only inevitable. The follow up is a turning point for the movies where the writers put the more popular side characters in to the forefront. This time around Fester and the kids get so much more focus, as Barry Sonnenfeld allows Fester more of the spotlight this time around. After the big reveal in the first film, Morticia and Gomez have a baby boy and much to their disappointment, Wednesday and Pugsley hate him. Despite making their feelings quite apparent, they persist in trying to kill their new baby brother, causing more headaches for their parents.
Among some of the best adaptations during the odd period in the nineties where every studio was putting sixties shows to film, “The Addams Family” is one of the best. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Addams Family together again after the cult series, Barry Sonnenfeld offers up a unique retelling of the Addams Family that works well. The biggest change to the lore is now Uncle Fester is no longer Morticia’s uncle but an Addams’ and Gomez’s brother. This allows the writers to offer up a pretty fun and unique re-visiting of the family where the primary brood is played by some brilliant actors.
There will always be a place for America’s ghoulish family The Addams and I assume in lieu of the proposed Tim Burton re-launch, the Hanna Barbera animated series from the early seventies is something of a necessary property to re-live the nostalgia for fans of the franchise and help them hunger for Burton’s new vision. Featuring the entire series in a four DVD set, “The Addams Family” is quite a departure from the normality of the creepy Addams Family this time venturing out beyond the series to offer up some Scooby Doo mystery solving.
One of the highlights of the series is the discovery that a young Jodie Foster (Yes, that Jodie Foster) voices Wednesday Addams. Beyond that this is a typical cash in from the Hanna Barbera legacy. Instead of leaving them in one place to cope with everyday life, instead the Addams take their show on the road driving around in a humongous Victorian Mansion/RV that brings aboard all of the Addams for the fun.