1991 / Director. Barry Sonnenfeld
I've never been a huge fan of this The Addams Family film but I still have a lot of praise for it. At the time it was made, Tim Burton was the flavour of Hollywood with his stylish, quirky & gothic creations being a breath of fresh air. Naturally the studios had to cash in on this aesthetic and so various Burtonesque movies hit the screens. The Addam's Family comes the closest to that Burton style, but all the while signified Barry Sonnenfeld as a bankable new director. I can take or leave the premise of The Addams Family. The story is turgid, convoluted and stupid. Uncle Fester has been missing for 20 years and an imposter arrives to take his place, hoping to get his hands on the family fortune. Yeah whatever, I don't really care about this stupid set-up because the design, characters and photography are so beautiful (granted a good story would have made it amazing). While using the original tv series as it's foundation, the film takes the concepts and runs with them. This is fantastic in so many ways with gruesome and macabre ideas that most modern family films haven't the guts to dare. Raúl Juliá, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci are particularly good and fully embrace the macabre with performances worthy of Grand Guignol. I watched the film again last night and felt giddy like a school boy. Its such a wonderful looking movie that's let down by a simplistic and boring script. It could have been so much greater and thankfully, it's sequel was! The Addams Family Values recognised what went wrong in the first movie and made all of the right adjustments. I'll be revisiting it again soon, too.