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Blu-ray Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY

Jan 20 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

It’s Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez Addams’s (Oscar Isaac) wedding day, and the couple is making their way to the cemetery for a beautiful, dark midnight wedding. However, they are soon chased by a hoard of angry villagers with torches and pitchforks. That’s their cue to find a new home, one that is shrouded from the rest of the world, where they can live in peaceful misery. So the newlyweds leave Eastern Europe along with their trusty dismembered hand, Thing, and head to New Jersey. They find a condemned and abandoned old mansion that was once a state hospital for the criminally insane. The house is haunted by a spirit, and sits atop a large hill, clouded by an infinite fog, thunder and lightning…it’s perfect for this eccentrically macabre couple! They even take on one of the asylum’s former residents, the Frankenstein’s monster-like Lurch, as their butler. As the years pass, the couple welcomes two children, the goth, always somber Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her pudgy, explosion-obsessed younger brother Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).

In two weeks, it will be Pugsley’s Sabre Mazurka, a ceremony where the entire Addams family clan from around the world comes together to cast judgement on the boy as he becomes a man. As part of this ceremony, Pugsley will need to perform a sword dance—something for which he is ill-prepared. So Gomez’s bald, odd-ball brother Fester (Nick Kroll) arrives early to help his nephew prepare. And, much to Morticia’s chagrin, Gomez’s mother, Grandma (Bette Midler), also shows up a week early to help with the party preparations.

Meanwhile, down the hill, home renovation expert/TV personality Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) has built the new neighborhood of Assimilation—where all the houses are the same, and where being unique is frowned upon. She plans to sell all 50 houses on the live finale of her Margaux’s Design Intervention program in two weeks. However, draining the marshland to build the neighborhood has caused the fog to lift, and the monstrosity that is the Addams’s home is now visible from every new home. She’s also distraught to learn that more members of this eccentric family will be arriving just in time for her finale. So Margaux goes into panic mode, trying to come up with schemes to either renovate the eyesore of a mansion, or get the Addams’s to leave.

Now that the fog has lifted, Wednesday is curious to explore more of the outside world—she had been confined to the mansion all her life. And so she enrolls in middle school, where she befriends Margaux’s daughter Parker (Elsie Fisher). Parker is sick of her mother’s idea of conformance, and so Wednesday helps her embrace her goth side. Meanwhile, Wednesday sees an opportunity to test her own mother’s patience and acceptance.

 

The Addams Family is a fun new take on these classic characters, bringing them into modern times, but also keeping a lot of those familiar aspects, elements and catchphrases from the comics and TV series. With the Addams family, things are typically reversed from normal logic. Pain, darkness and despair are the joys in life for this odd family. They like their home dark and dusty, and filled with bugs and creatures. They enjoy moldy, disgusting food. They commune with the dead, and are constantly throwing knives, arrows, or explosives at one another—you know, in the way that family members show their love for one another. The film is jam packed with so many puns, one-liners and pop culture references. However, there are also lots of more-layered jokes and sight gags, and as I watched the film for the second time on this Blu-ray release, I found even more hilarious things I missed the first time around.

The film also has lots of fun, familiar things for longtime fans of these characters, such as a shot-for-shot recreation of the TV show’s opening title sequence, Morticia speaking French to Gomez, knowing that it is one of his turn-ons, Uncle Fester with a lightbulb in his mouth, and so on. There are also many musical interludes as Lurch plays a mix of modern and classical musical on the organ as a way to segue between some scenes. Wednesday has two braids in her hair, cleverly tied up to resemble nooses. She’s dressed all in black and white and looks quite pale. Her way of rebelling is to put a small pink unicorn barrette in her hair, which Morticia notices immediately, and gasps in horror that “pink is a gateway color”.

The main theme of the film is one of learning to just be yourself and not conform to what others want you to be like. On one side you have Margaux trying to keep her fittingly-named neighborhood Assimilate in line, as well as her own daughter. She watches her neighbors and uses the neighborhood group chat to call people out and crush any attempts to stray from the status quo. At the same time, Gomez is pressuring Pugsley to learn the traditional family sword dance so he can fit in, even though this is not something Pugsley has any desire to do.

I first saw the film in 3D in the theater, and was a little disappointed to see that there was no 3D Blu-ray release available anywhere in the world. There were some scenes that were definitely designed with 3D in mind, such a one early on where Pugsley is flying around on a rocket. That said, as I re-watched the film in 2D, I still found it quite funny and enjoyable, possibly laughing even more the second time around.

Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds amazing. The picture is nearly flawless, with bright colors, beautiful scenery, and incredibly detailed characters and textures throughout. I can’t imagine it looking better (the 4K digital copy was not yet available for redemption at the time of this review). My one complaint is that there is no 3D Blu-ray option being offered. The soundtrack is also extremely well done, providing clear dialogue and an incredibly immersive experience. Whether it’s the sounds of thunder and pouring rain, or the creaks and sounds from the Addams family home, or Lurch’s organ music, my room was constantly filled with sound.

The Blu-ray release comes packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover, and contains an insert with a code to redeem for a 4K iTunes digital copy of the film (it is not Movies Anywhere compatible). Both the Blu-ray and DVD discs contain the same assortment of bonus material, which consists of 4 deleted/extended scenes, 2 lyric videos, and about 14 minutes of games and featurettes.



What’s Included:

Film: (1:27:01)

    Blu-ray:

    • 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    DVD:

    • 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Digital (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):

    • 4K digital copy redeemable via iTunes (Not Movies Anywhere compatible)
      Even though the film didn’t get a 4K Ultra HD media release, you can still check out the film in all its 4K HDR/Dolby Atmos glory via the Apple TV 4K.

Extras:

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (6:14)
    Collection of four deleted/extended scenes in various stages of completion. Play All, or select from:

    • Joan of Arc (1:08)
      Wednesday executes her dolls.
    • The Truant Officer (1:49)
      Pugsley catches the truant officer in a trap and wants to keep him as a pet. The man insists the children enroll in school.
    • Pugsley Bee Beard (2:18)
      Fester and Gomez show Pugsley the dances he will need to perform for his Mazurka.
    • Assimilatte (:58)
      Fester serves up drinks at the coffee shop, which is filled with other Addams family members.
  • Charades with Thing (3:32)
    A 2D-animated Thing performs five rounds of charades. After he gives the clues, the viewer is given 3 multiple choices for the answer. See how many of these you can guess.
  • Life of a Scene (3:22)
    A narrated breakdown of the different stages to creating a scene for an animated movie. See one scene go from its black & white Storyboards to Layouts to Animation to Lighting.
  • Welcome to the Family (6:03)
    The cast and filmmakers take a look at the making of the film, and discuss these iconic characters. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with co-directors Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, producer Alison O’Brien, producer Alex Schwartz, and stars Oscar Isaac (“Gomez Addams”), Charlize Theron (“Morticia Addams”), Chloë Grace Moretz (“Wednesday Addams”), Finn Wolfhard (“Pugsley Addams”), Allison Janney (“Margaux Needler”), and Nick Kroll (“Uncle Fester”).
  • Addams Family Throwback (1:05)
    Co-director Conrad Vernon and star Oscar Isaac talk about the original Addams Family comics, some of which are displayed on the screen.
  • “Haunted Heart” Lyric Video (2:50)
    Christina Aguilera’s “Haunted Heart” plays over clips from the film, along with stylized lyrics and footage of the singer performing the song.
  • “My Family” Lyric Video (1:05)
    “My Family”, performed by Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia & Snoop Dogg, plays over clips from the movie, along with stylized lyrics.

 


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Film:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Recommended

The Addams Family is a fun new take on the classic characters, keeping them familiar while also making things feel fresh and modern. The talented voice cast does a great job bringing these characters to life for an entertaining and hilarious new adventure. Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds amazing (I just wish they had also offered a 3D version), and the discs contain a small but entertaining assortment of bonus material. This is a fun film for the whole family that’s worth checking out.