In news that makes me want to beat my head repeatedly against the nearest brick wall, it has been announced that Tim Burton is looking to turn Charles Addams’ comic strip The Addams Family into a 3D stop-motion animation film at Illumination Entertainment (Universal’s new animated shingle), most probably with the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, the music of Danny Elfman etc. etc.
There are predictable burps of ‘perfect match’ between director and source material, but I can’t help but be wearied by the sheer laziness of this decision.
Deadline New York’s (where the story broke), suggest that Burton intends to make this new incarnation closer in tone to the macabre wit of Charles’ original drawings which is correct, and indeed, looking at those sketches one can see where the Tim Burton of old would have been an ideal candidate for direction. And he would have been, back in 1991 when he was originally offered the chance to helm the live-action version.
Barry Sonnenfeld went on to direct the 1991 blockbuster and it’s superior sequel Addams Family Values in 1993. They were perfectly cast, gorgeously designed and macabre treats, capturing a sort of meshed appeal of Addams cartoons and the 1960s TV series. Following on from this were a number of animated TV shows, a dreadful DTV film (Addams Family Reunion starring Tim Curry and Daryl Hannah as Gomez and Morticia!?) and myriad video games that I remember fondly (specifically the near impossible Fester’s Quest on NES). But it’s been over ten years since any major Addams happenings, so time is ripe for Hollywood re-plundering.
As with many new Burton projects there’s always that slither of hope that former glories can be re-captured, but there’s something a bit too head-slappingly obvious about the notion of Burton developing this particular project. Speaking of predictability, Burton’s feature-length animated adaptation of his early career short Frankenweenie begins filming in London next week.
This article was first posted on March 19, 2010