Review: Hotel Transylvania

Photo courtesy animationmagazine
Photo courtesy animationmagazine

Maybe Adam Sandler has found his new niche in Hollywood. While the actors live action movies have been hitting a brick wall lately, Hotel Transylvania is his biggest hit since Grown Ups almost two and a half years ago. And while it doesn’t exactly blaze new trails in animation or even come close to touching Pixar’s unquestionable quality, it does serve as a mostly enjoyable Halloween romp.

Count Dracula (Sandler) has built an immense castle dubbing it Hotel Transylvania, a place where all monsters can come and vacation away from the real world and be human free. Drac really has a secondary reason for the hotel being so well hidden. His daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) lives with him and he never wants her to leave the castle so he has spent her entire life filling her head with all the reasons why humans are the most horrible creatures in existence. Now it is time for her 118th birthday and on the eve of her huge party, which will be attended by all of Dracula’s (and Sandler’s) friends Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), Invisible Man (David Spade) and the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), her father has promised her that she may leave the castle and explore the village closest to them for a few minutes.

After she realizes that humans are terrible creatures, thanks to Dracula’s horde of zombie bellboys playing humans, Mavis promises to stay at the castle forever. During her party a human named Jonathan (Andy Samburg) happens upon the castle. Dracula thinks quickly and dresses him up as a long, lost relative of Frankenstein to keep the guests of the hotel unawares that a human is in their midst. For them to find out would be the end of the hotel.

As is expected, Mavis and Jonathan fall for each other and he shows her and all of the guests that there is a lot more fun to be had in life if you just open yourself up more.

What did you expect? It is a kids movie. It is not like we are dealing with Inception here.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

While all the voice performances are good and the animation is serviceable, Hotel Transylvania does play it safe plot wise. We get the boy meets girl, boy leaves girl, friends band together to get boy back story. The jokes are more kid based and don’t have quite the adult bite as some other animated features, but that’s OK. This movie wasn’t made for the fat, cynical, Adam Sandler weary crowd like yours truly.

That is not to say there is no fun to be had in Hotel Transylvania. I had more than a few chuckles with jokes involving the zombie bellboys and Jon Lovitz’s performance as Quasimodo, who plays the foil of the movie as he tries to catch Jonathon and make a human pot pie out of him.

Also fans of Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and Star Wars: The Clone Wars should take note and give this a watch because it is directed by the legen-wait for it- dary Genndy Tartakovsky and his certain vibe can be felt throughout the film. It is a good start for his feature film directorial debut and hopefully the film’s success will get him looked at to handle more animated features.

Hotel Transylvania has some good stuff going for it. A solid voice and quality director keep this movie from dragging into the Ferngully’s of kids films. It has its share of laughs and can easily be a Halloween movie to enjoy with your family. Your kids should have a great time with it and as an adult you can take it from me, you can watch a lot worse movies that have vampires in lead roles. Much, much worse.






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