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4K Ultra HD Review: The Addams Family (With More Mamushka!)

November 22, 2021

By John Corrado

Barry Sonnenfeld, who got his start in the industry as a cinematographer, made his directorial debut in 1991 with The Addams Family, a big screen adaptation of the classic 1960s TV show (which was itself based on a comic strip by Charles Addams).

Despite a troubled production (with the film going over-budget and over-schedule, causing Orion Pictures to sell it to Paramount partway through production), Sonnenfeld’s film proved to be a hit. Released in theatres on November 22nd, 1991, The Addams Family not only made bank at the box office, but was also successful enough with audiences to get a sequel (Addams Family Values) two years later.

Now Paramount is celebrating the film’s 30th anniversary with a newly remastered 4K Ultra HD edition, that includes both the theatrical cut and an extended version “with more Mamushka,” restoring the full dance sequence that was shortened in the final cut.

The story involves the creepy and kooky Addams family – parents Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Huston), and their two kids Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) – as they deal with the return of a man claiming to be their long-lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), who has been missing for years in the Bermuda Triangle. The casting is spot-on, and the film’s production design, makeup and costumes (which received an Oscar nomination) are all a feast for the eyes.

This is the first time that The Addams Family has been released in 4K, having been restored under the supervision of Sonnenfeld, and the 2160p presentation on the UHD disc is quite impressive. It offers a pleasing visual experience that allows us to really enjoy the gothic sets and other details within the frame (such as the family cuckoo clock seen near the beginning and the cobwebs surrounding it).

While I think the 1993 sequel Addams Family Values actually somewhat surpasses it (both films were released in a Blu-ray combo pack two years ago, which I reviewed here), The Addams Family remains an enjoyable film in its own right. It’s an entertaining family movie that is very faithful to the TV show that inspired it, playing out with a delightfully dark comic streak.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The 4K disc includes two featurettes (one new and one old), as well as a brief intro by Sonnenfeld on the extended cut. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which comes with a slipcover.

Introduction to More Mamushka Version By Director Barry Sonnenfeld (32 seconds): The filmmaker briefly talks about finding an original negative and restoring the full dance between Gomez and Fester, offering some good context on the extended cut.

Filmmaker Focus: Barry Sonnenfeld on The Addams Family (16 minutes, 32 seconds): The director reflects on making the film thirty years on. Sonnenfeld talks about growing up as a fan of the comic and this being his first movie as a director, after being a cinematographer for the Coen Brothers and Rob Reiner, with producer Scott Rudin asking him to direct due to his visual style. He discusses casting, working with cinematographer Owen Roizman (The Exorcist) and shooting on slow stock to allow deeper saturation, bringing Thing to screen with in-camera effects using actor Christopher Hart’s hand and erasing him from the frame, as well as the challenging shoot. We also learn how young Ricci helped change the ending from the original script after the first table read, and the director shares his one regret of getting a class full of pre-schoolers to cry for the camera.

Archival Featurette (7 minutes, 29 seconds): An archival featurette that features the actors discussing their characters in the film and also touches on the production.

The Addams Family is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. The theatrical version is 99 minutes and the extended cut is 101 minutes. Both are rated PG.

Street Date: November 9th, 2021

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