Synopsis: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.
Voice Stars: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Cee-Lo Green, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Running Length: 91 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (6.5/10)
Review: While most of the adults get a steady stream of horror films each October, it’s a rare occurrence to get something with a scary slant made for the younger set. Obviously it can’t be too scary or the target audience will spend the rest of the year sleeping in bed with their parents, but it can’t be too goofy to keep parents away either. Hotel Transylvania strikes a nice balance in this regard, utilizing its spooky skeleton to provide the setting for a tale filled with charm and laughs.
The best thing about the movie is usually the worst thing about certain films…Adam Sandler. Sandler has the distinction of turning out some of the most odious films in the last few years and while they originally started out as box office hits, audiences are clearly tiring of his arrested development mouth breather characters and opting for different movie choices instead. It’s a wise move, then, that Sandler is returning to the animated field (after 2002’s dreadful 8 Crazy Nights) and bringing along a few select members of his troupe of goofballs.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Scooby-Doo and their animated features. Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School was a nice mash-up of monster genres that were in line with the Universal Studios line of monster flicks and a few Abbot & Costello films. Working in a similar fashion, Hotel Transylvania brings together many of the famous monsters from the past without the usual wink-wink nudge-nudge exhausting bits. Creatures like the Frankenstein monster, the Werewolf, the Invisible Man, and the Mummy are just a few of the familiar frames you’ll come into contact with.
The film is equitable with time and provides enough interesting bits about these monsters so that the audiences can see they are just like the rest of us (kinda) with their own familiar familial troubles and self-doubting moments. It’s nothing revolutionary but it was nice to see a little more shine put on these characters than other films have attempted to do over the years. It’s certainly more character development than any Sandler film of the last 10 years.
Following a simple story of a parent reluctant to let their child grow up, Hotel Transylvania plays nice with its audience and overall theme of acceptance in the face of a challenge. It’s not hard to figure out how this one will end up, so even if you are simply awaiting the final outcome the film is smart enough to know that it needs to fill in the rest of the movie with enough comedy to hold your attention.
Admission to the film should come with a seat belt in addition to your 3D glasses. It hits the ground running at such a frantic, frenetic speed that your brain may be rolling before the first reel is over. It’s just gag after gag after gag after gag after gag….breather…then it starts all over again. That’s OK for select passages but couple that with some vivid computer animation and decent 3D work and it can become overwhelming very quick.
It’s a credit, then, that most of these yuk-filled super sequences land more jokes than they miss. The overgrown kid in me responded to the pace and the monster references while the adult liked the message about looking beyond the physical and into the heart of the matter. Parents can take their kids to this with confidence that while it may spook them a bit, it just as easily can spark good conversations on the drive home.
I’m not sure if saying this is the best Adam Sandler film in recent memory is saying anything but…well…I’ve said it. I think putting the animated actor Sandler into an animated film has solved the problem of his work as of late: he’s a cartoon anyway so actually making him one seems like a natural fit. His work and the voices of his close friends help make Hotel Transylvania a pleasant stay.