3 out of 4
Hotel Transylvania, directed by Cartoon Network’s beloved Genndy Tartakovsky, stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, and a gaggle of other well-known voices. It tells the story of a father, Sandler aka Dracula, coming to terms with his daughter Mavis, played by Selena Gomez, growing up. Dracula, after losing his wife Martha when Mavis was a baby, builds a hotel hidden away from the dangerous humans who took his love. It is to be a place free from fear where monsters from all over can come out of the shadows and enjoy a relaxing vacation. The day before the big birthday party Dracula is throwing for Mavis’s 118 birthday, a human named Jonathan, played by Andy Samberg, stumbles upon the hotel. Filled with Dracula’s friends and trying to keep his daughter from wanting to leave and explore the world, he must find a way to hide the human before everything is ruined.
You might not recognize the name Genndy Tartakovsky, but I am sure you are familiar with his work. Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Star Wars: Clone Wars and the masterpiece that was Samurai Jack. His art style is very distinct and it comes into play here. The characters have a flavor in the design of the person voicing them, but not so much that they are distracting.
The writing is quite good. Truly a daddy/daughter movie, it addresses the issues of not just letting go, but the damage you can do if you don’t. What is refreshing is the humor. So often in kids movies there are jokes built in very obviously for adults, innuendos are huge. But in this movie the jokes are truly funny and appropriate regardless of age. It is sweet and kind in its approach to all the characters. And the plot isn’t dumbed down for kids.
The cast is impressive, aside from the big three already listed, there is Kevin James (Frankenstein), Fran Descher (Mrs. Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (Wolfman), Molly Shannon (Mrs. Wolfman), David Spade (Invisible Man), CeeLo Green (The Mummy), Jon Lovitz (Quasimodo) and so many more. Having these voices peppered through the movie add little surprises as it plays. It is a nice touch.
Though this movie has a classic feel about it, given the characters and the overall theme, some of the references feel a bit like they were added in by the studio to make it more current. And because of this, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Though it is a daddy/daughter movie, the main stars of the movie is Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. They actually have more interactions on screen than Sandler’s Dracula and Gomez’s Mavis. Now granted, Samberg is the instrument that allows Dracula to get past his biases along with overcome his inability to let go of his daughter, so it just work well the plot. But given this is the case, especially after just seeing a daddy/daughter movie that did it right in the Trouble with the Curve, it is something that needs to be worked on for Genndy’s next outing.
Lastly, some scenes did seem to go on a bit long. I don’t want to spoil but there were moments were it would have been nice if it wrapped up a bit sooner, ending number being one of them.
This is a good kid’s movie. It has a solid easy plot to follow, very funny and sweet overall message. The voice acting is fun and it is a nice way to introduce the classic horror monsters without them being too frightening or made sexy, like the latest craze has been. This is a good movie that even a 4 yr old will enjoy along with their parents. Given that we are hitting the horror season for movies, this comes at a great time for parents to have something to take their kids too.