Shallow Thoughts on “The Addams Family” and “The Addams Family Values”

So after watching “The Munsters”, I was reminded of their counterpart,”The Addams Family”.  I don’t have access to the original series or to the remake, but as it turned out I did have the two movies, “The Addams Family” and “Addams Family Values”.  It seemed, then, like a good time to carve out some time to watch them.

I found that the first one seemed a bit off.  For the most part, it seemed subdued and seemed to lack energy.  Gomez was normally incredibly hyperactive, but in the first movie he seemed incredibly subdued.  Part of that might have to do with the subject matter — he was supposed to be a bit depressed by Fester being missing and their feud — but even when he was happy he didn’t seem to have the energy that characterized that character in the TV series.  And while characters like Morticia and Wednesday were more stoic in the series, here they seemed overly subdued as well, especially Morticia.  In the series, she at least seemed interested in what was going on, but in the first movie she seems more disinterested than stoic.  It’s a bit grating.

“Addamd Family Values”, though, works a lot better at this.  Gomez is almost back to his hyperactive self, and more importantly characters like Morticia and Wednesday, although they remain stoic, seem interested in things again.  Part of the reason for that might be the writers and actors finding their footing and so capturing the feel and energy of the TV series better, but I also think that a big reason for this is the plot itself.  In the first one, the plot was more serious, and the villain was a little bit goofy but was also pretty serious.  In the second one, the plot — to marry and then kill Fester to get his money — is still serious, but we can see from the beginning that the villain is going to have “fun” trying to kill Fester, because we know that the Addams’ are really, really hard to kill.  The villain also really seems to enjoy chewing the scenery which works to make it more comedic and upbeat.  The plot could be serious, but none of the characters really seem to be taking it all that seriously.

I also think that the plots that split the family up also worked for this, as it gave each of the major characters the chance to participate in a plot that worked for them.  In the first movie, there wasn’t much for the children to do, for example, other than to be a way to appeal to Fester and encourage him to break away from his fake mother to rejoin the family.  Here, they get their own arc at summer camp which gives them something to do and is a plot that fits into their characters and allows them to react to that situation in a way that is entirely consistent with their characters and the humour that follows from their characters.  Then the main Fester plot was able to focus on those characters and the humour that follows from them.  There was, thus, no need to interrupt the action with an aside to build the humour for all the main characters, allowing each plot to set up their humour and fun more organically.

So, obviously, I like the second movie better than the first one.  But both of them are good.  I’m going to stick this in my closet of movies to watch again.

2 Responses to “Shallow Thoughts on “The Addams Family” and “The Addams Family Values””

  1. Accomplishments Update | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] be finished the original “Addams Family” show by the time I go on vacation, after having watched the movies recently.  I also watched the entire Universal “Dracula” run, a large number of science fiction […]

  2. Thoughts on “The Addams Family” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] I had watched the original series as a kid (it was on after school) and after finding and watching the movies.  So I remembered that the original series was a bit different than the movie and wanted to see if […]

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