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The Addams Family (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Wow, its been 30 years since The Addams Family found new life in cinematic form. A comic strip turned beloved television show, their legacy still carries strong today with new animated movies as well as a Netflix series around the corner. Paramount is celebrating the Barry Sonnenfeld film turning 30 with a new 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. This disc will include a new interview with Sonnenfeld as well as a new cut of the film featuring a deleted dance sequence fully restored and inserted back in. One can only hope the superior sequel, Addams Family Values, will get some of this love in the near future. The 1991 film will be released on November 23rd and you can land yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link below.

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Film

When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the Addams’ home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester’s life. With the help of lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), Fester manages to get the Addams clan evicted from their home. Gomez realizes the two men are conspiring to swindle the Addams fortune and that he must challenge Fester.

An odd comparison, surely, and it fares better than the film I’m about to equate it to. But, The Addams Family finds itself feeling a lot like David Lynch’s Dune. The film has tremendous production design that awes, with great photography, competent direction and an absolutely game cast. Its in the script wherein the stuff that doesn’t work about it comes into play.

The film definitely feels like it changed its mind three quarters through regarding Uncle Fester (which indeed is the case). And in turn is just a weird story giving us The Addams Family, but as if we knew THIS Addams Family enough to jump into the story. Its a wonder what kind of disappointment this would have been for audiences had the script actually gone to plan. It also kind of just waddles along on thrown togethers sketches and character bits and hopes to make a movie out of them.

However, those bits are a lot of the best parts, letting the cast just chew this up. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston just eat up the screen alive with any chance they get. Growing up when I did, these performances are so strong that they ARE Gomez and Morticia Addams in my eyes. Ditto on a stellar breakout performance by Christina Ricci who is wise beyond her years with her Wednesday Addams.

It comes out a lot in this 4K disc but was always present, but the Addams household is an absolute marvel on film. The design, lighting and look of it and the characters against it are amazing. From the cobwebs to the wood grain, this house is an absolute haunted gothic delight to wander around and see every little corner.

The Addams Family was a giant success when it came out and seems to still resonate well today with people. I do prefer the sequel a lot, but this one does get by on a lot of fun character work and charm to not be able to fully dismiss it. It does have a bit of an odd script, but the side bar comedic bits succeed and make getting through to story ok.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: The Addams Family makes its debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with an outstanding new transfer. This has a nice layer of grain to it which really enhances and showcases the depth the film offers. Details, patterns and textures are incredibly strong with finer points available in any given frame. This really is a nice job done by Paramount, who has been making a habit of terrific transfers with the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format.

Depth:  The film has an excellent depth of field on display with the house having a lot of pushback, rooms with great scale and presence and confident camera movements that enhance and showcase spacing. Character movements are filmic and smooth.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and lovingly rich. The darkest corners, shadows and nighttime scenes are an absolutely thing of beauty in this transfer. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: There are some poppy colors here that really get vibrant when they have too, but its the whites, grays, browns and other little more gothic infused ones that really richen and steal the show in this picture with wonderful saturation.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from star to finish. Facial features and textures come through amazing from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description, French 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

Dynamics: With this being a new cut of the film, I’m not sure this is the same 5.1 mix on the previous Blu-ray release. Nonetheless, this is a rollicking track. This is quite loud, well balanced, and just makes its mark all across your viewing area. Music hits hard as does much of the sound effects with good impact. This really enhances and makes for a crazy good experience for the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Low end stuff really hits with things like chimes, destruction, crashing, demolition, thunder and more as well as hitting all the deep parts of the music very well.

Surround Sound Presentation: This mix really does carry nice weight all around the viewing space. Rear channels have a rather active build of ambiance as well as catering to unique offscreen sounds and helping things to travel across the room.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

The Addams Family comes with a redeemable digital code for the film.

Play With More Mamushka! (HD, 1:41:09) – The film including a cut dance number, restored from a recently found negative.

  • Introduction By Director Barry Sonnenfeld (HD, :32)

Filmmaker Focus: Barry Sonnenfeld on The Addams Family (HD, 16:32) – This is recorded via Zoom, but Sonnenfeld is incredible detailed and honest. There’s a tad of an origin story for himself as he talks about being a cinematographer and how they wanted a visual person and not a comedy director for the film. He goes over working with the cinematographer and what he asked of him, enjoying the cast, how Christina Ricci was instrumental in having the script changed to have it be the real Fester and A LOT more. It also features a lot of behind the scenes footage and pictures as Sonnenfeld talks.

Archival Featurette (HD, 7:29) – Obviously upscaled from an SD source. This is an EPK that has interviews with Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Barry Sonnenfeld, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman, Carel Struycken and Judith Malina.

Summary

Despite its script shortcomings, 1991’s The Addams Family is still an enjoyable enough film to get by the charm of design and cast alone. Paramount’s new 4K disc for its 30th anniversary is a stunner. An absolutely gorgeous transfer and raucous 5.1 mix make for a fantastic viewing experience. The new scene is a lot of fun and Sonnenfeld delivers a terrific interview that help round out some extras where previously there were none. An easy pickup at a nice sale price.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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