The Addams Family has been America’s favorite macabre and kooky family since their inception in the 1930s. For over 50 years, Charles Addams featured the Addams family in dozens of single-panel comics. The Addams Family was a satirical take on the ideal nuclear American family of the 20th century. While very wealthy and aristocratic, the family was delighted in everything macabre and cared very little for those who looked askance at them for their oddness.
By 1964, the Addams Family had been adapted into a TV series and reached a much wider audience. The series propelled the Addams Family into popularity, though it was a much lighter and more comedic approach to the family. While the series only ran for two seasons, the franchise continued to live on and grow in popularity well after it ended. This led Paramount to release the very first live-action film adaptation, The Addams Family, in 1991, followed by a sequel in 1993, Addams Family Values. Both films are directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. A third live-action film, unrelated to Sonnenfeld’s films, premiered in 1998 and was titled Addams Family Reunion.
despues de Addams Family Reunion, Addams Family films went on a hiatus for over 20 years. Then, in 2019, the franchise was rebooted with a computer-animated film, The AddamsFamily. The film received a sequel, The Addams Family 2, in 2021. In total, there have been five film adaptations of the Addams family, each with various casts, stories, and comedic elements. Here are all five films ranked best to worst.
1. Addams Family Values
Addams Family Values was the sequel to Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family and premiered in 1993. The film sees Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia Addams (Anjelica Huston) welcoming a new baby boy, Pubert (Kaitlyn & Kristen Hooper), to the family. However, Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) and Wednesday (Christina Ricci) don’t take well to the new arrival and engage in several attempts to kill him. As a result, the family hires Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) as a nanny, but, unknownst to Gomez and Morticia, she is actually a serial killer.
This film did what many sequels fail to do and managed to surpass its predecessor, Addams Family. While the casting remained the same, Addams Family Values took a different approach to the content. Whereas the first film, much like the TV series, strove to be more light-hearted, comedic, and quirky, Addams Family Values capitalized more on the dark humor of the original comics. The script allowed the true Addams family to shine through this time around and it proved effective. It’s not a perfect film, but it is the best film adaptation of Addams’ original work.
two. Addams Family (1991)
Addams Family premiered in 1991 and marked the very first live-action Addams Family film. This film was directed by Sonnefeld and starred Julia, Huston, Workman, Ricci, and Christopher Lloyd. In the film, the family’s lives are interrupted when a man claiming to be Fester Addams (Lloyd), Gomez’s long-lost brother, shows up at their home. As time proceeds, the family begins to grow suspicious that he is not who he says he is. In fact, there is a scheme underlying Fester that will threaten the Addams’ entire fortune and their gloomy lifestyle.
This film received largely mixed-to-positive reviews. It certainly wasn’t a failure and performed well at the box office, but it failed to meet the high expectation of audiences who had waited decades for an Addams family film. With that being said, the performances were one of the highlights of the film, especially Huston as Morticia. The film is amusing, entertaining, and captures a portion of the Addams family’s dark humor. However, it is just a little too tame—making it miss its mark as a black comedy.
3. Addams Family (2019)
In 2019, the Addams family franchise was rebooted with the animated Addams Family. This film welcomed a new cast including Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Finn Wolfhard, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nick Kroll. In the film, the Addams have found their perfect glorious home in an abandoned asylum on a hill. Meanwhile, Morticia (Theron) and Gomez (Isaac), like any other family, are busy navigating their children growing up and finding their own identities. However, their peaceful life is shattered when a greedy TV host wants their property de ella for her perfect planned community and tries to demonize the Addams, in hopes of driving them out of their home.
The film received largely mixed reviews. It boasts a star-studded cast and Isaac and Theron are phenomenal as Gomez and Morticia. The visuals and graphics are appealing, and the storyline is intriguing—as it explored the Addams Family embracing their quirkiness despite society’s rebuttal. However, the biggest downfall is that the film misses the macabre undertones and dark humor of the Addams. It’s definitely a cute, sweet, and entertaining family film, but it does very little to recapture the original Addams Family.
Four. The Addams Family 2
The Addams Family 2 is the sequel to the animated Addams Family and was released in 2021. Most of the original cast reprized their roles for the sequel, though Javon Walton replaced Finn Wolfhard as the voice of Pugsley. The Addams Family 2 sees the Addams leaving their comfortable dark mansion and going out on a road trip. Family vacations, tourist attractions, and sunny beaches aren’t the Addams’ typical cup of tea. However, with the kids growing older and more distant, Gomez (Isaac) is willing to try anything to bring them all back together.
The sequel hits all of the original film’s pitfalls, and then some. Once again, the film is relatively enjoyable as a cute animated film for family movie night. However, it is still devoid of the elements of the classic Addams Family. Sadly, the sequel also suffered a huge downgrade in terms of plot and screenplay. The film lacks reason and accomplishes very little in its allotted time. It’s filled with random pop culture references, cheesy jokes, and a whole lot of “happenings” that don’t seem to form fully into an actual plot.
5. Addams Family Reunion
There was actually a third Addams Family film made in the 1990s. This one was unrelated to Sonnenfeld’s series and was a direct-to-video film. Despite being unrelated to Sonnenfeld’s series, Carel Struycken, who played Lurch in the Sonnenfeld’s series, reprised his role for this film, as well. The film follows what happens when the eccentric Addams family heads out to a family reunion. However, a spelling error causes them to show up to a wholly unrelated, and ultra-conservative clan’s reunion—the Adams family.
The one highlight of the film was Tim Curry’s performance as Gomez Addams. Curry’s performance alone was singled out for praise and he certainly was a worthy successor to Julia. But sadly, the film butchered the classic Addams family to an even greater extent than the animated films did. Addams Family Reunion completely does away with any semblance of black comedy or satire, instead making the film entirely a children’s film. It even replaced the iconic theme song with a doo-wop version (that was terrible). Additionally, the CGI was terrible, the production cheap looking, and the majority of the acting poor. Curry alone couldn’t hold up this film and it succeeds in being nothing but disrespectful to Addams’ legacy.
(featured image: Paramount)
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