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Blu-ray Review: The Addams Family and Addams Family Values 2-Movie Collection

October 1, 2019

By John Corrado

Arriving just in time for Halloween, and for the release of the new animated movie on October 11th, Paramount is releasing a new two movie collection that includes both The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values on Blu-ray this week.

Both films were directed by Barry Sonnenfeld – who would go on to direct the Men in Black trilogy – and are of course based on the classic 1960s TV series, which was in turn adapted from a comic strip by the American cartoonist Charles Addams.

The first film, released in 1991, finds the macabre family of Gomez (Raul Julia), Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and their two kids Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) being conned by accountant Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), who plots to steal the family’s massive fortune by hiring a man who is a dead ringer for their long-lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), who disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

The film’s cast of characters is rounded out by the family’s growling butler Lurch (Carel Struycken), the disembodied hand Thing (Christopher Hart), Granny (Judith Malina), and Cousin Itt (John Franklin), who all make appearances here. While the film is a bit uneven in places and has some pacing issues, often feeling like an episode of the show that has been stretched to feature length, it’s also fun to watch and is quite pleasing on a visual level. Sonnenfeld does a fine job of capturing the look and feel of the original series, and it’s worth noting that this was his directorial debut. The film went on to receive a much deserved Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.

Released two years later in 1993, Addams Family Values opens with Morticia and Gomez having a new baby, which causes Wednesday and Pugsley to become jealous. This prompts the family to hire a nanny named Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack). Fester becomes instantly smitten with her, but Wednesday and Pugsley, who have been carted off to summer camp at Debbie’s request, have reason to believe that their new nanny is actually a notorious serial killer who marries rich men and then kills them for money.

Tighter, more focused, more twisted, and altogether even more fun, Addams Family Values stands the test of time as a sequel that surpasses its enjoyable predecessor in almost every way. The film moves fast and is perfectly paced to always have something going in, with several different and equally wacky subplots operating all at once. The summer camp story leads to a wonderfully deranged Thanksgiving-inspired musical number. There are a lot of laughs that stem from some delightfully dark places, with several jokes that would likely never fly today in a film aimed at families. The film also understandably received an Oscar nomination for its appealing production design.

The pitch-perfect casting is a big reason why these films work. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston bear strong resemblance to John Astin and Carolyn Jones, their counterparts on the original show, and Christina Ricci is a little scene-stealer who gets some of the best lines in both films. Christopher Lloyd also does memorable work, and is almost unrecognizable in the role under layers of makeup, save for his distinctive facial expressions. The first movie is pretty good, the second one is even better, and together they make a very worthwhile set for those looking to add both of these films to their collection.

The first disc in the set also includes the original theatrical trailers for the 1991 film, and the second one has no additional bonus features. Both discs are housed together on either side of a standard double-disc plastic snap case, which also comes with a cardboard o-sleeve.

The Addams Family and Addams Family Values 2-Movie Blu-ray Collection is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. The Addams Family is 99 minutes and Addams Family Values is 94 minutes, both are rated PG.

Street Date: October 1st, 2019

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