I remember when you had to wait a couple of years for a new fully animated CGI movie to hit the cinemas, a time when Pixar ruled the pixelwaves, forging a path in kid/adult targeted movies that were a must watch. Today it seems that studios are dropping them left, right and center, providing a staple diet of originals or sequels for the whole family to watch, resulting in some good and sadly some not so. How was Hotel Transylvania, I hear you ask. Well for me it sits somewhere in the middle, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either, let me explain.
The premise of the film is straightforward enough that even the “little-ins” will get it. Adam Sandler provides the voice of Count Dracula who’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is turning 118 – yes 118, not a typo – so all of Drac’s friends have been invited to a party at Hotel Transylvnia, a hotel built by Dracula to provide a safe haven for all Monster kind. You see Monsters are afraid of humans, hunted for hundreds of years by mankind the monsters live in fear, however once a year they take refuge and party on. This year just happens to be special, in more ways then one.
Keeping the Hotel a secret is key to it’s success, so when Jonathan voiced by Andy Samberg a backpacker surfer type dude and human none the less stumbles across it, Dracula must hide his identity from the rest of the guests. This is made all the more complicated when Mavis falls for Jonathan or Johnny Stien and Johnny for Mavis, so getting rid of him isn’t going to be that easy.
The gangs all here, Frankenstien (Kevin James), The Mummy (CeeLo Green), Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and his family, The Invisible Man (David Spade), infact more Monsters then you can shake a stick at, or should that be a pitchfork.
Hotel Transylvania is a lot of fun, with such a huge depth of characters available to the creators there a jokes a plenty, from zombie hotel staff to honeymooning flees, naked skeletons taking a shower to a good old fart joke. Keep an eye out for The Werewolf sticking his head out of the car window, it’s a nice touch.
Most of the humour is for the kids, there are a few jokes for the adults thrown in as you’d expect but not of the quality or frequency of say a Pixar movie or Shrek for example. Physical comedy is the order of the day, utilising the characteristics of the monsters in funny visual ways keeps the film moving along nicely.
The animation is solid but nothing outstanding. The characters scary edges are rounded off to a more cartoon caricatureised style so as to not frighten the young ones. It is of course showing in both 3D and 2D, sadly as with many films these days the 3D adds little to the film just a bit more visible depth on screen, it’s certainly not essential.
I’m a big fan of Director Genndy Tartakovsky’s earlier work on Samauri Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and of course Star Wars: Clone Wars so when it was announced that he would be directing I was hopeful that his visual style would come into play, however it”s clear that the studio haven’t given Tartakovsky complete freedom to explore the material to deeply, understandable for his first feature with Sony Pictures Animation.
The voice talent works well together, it should be no surprise that with the likes of Selena Gomez and CeeLo Green that there are a couple of musical numbers thrown in for good measure and of course the obligatory final number – what is it with Studios ending a film on a goof old sing-song?. Hotel Transylvania is easily the funniest thing that Adam Sandler’s done in a while, but that’s really not saying much is it.
Wrap it up!
Hotel Transylvania is good family fun, it’s not one of those films like Brave or Rango that have instant curb appeal which draws you in, if you don’t have young ones then chances are you’ll skip this completely – if that’s the case, you can rest assured you haven’t missed the movie of the year. If however the kids are looking for some laughs with there popcorn you can’t go wrong.
Hotel Transylvania is released Friday 28th 2012