<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, John Lovitz, David Koechner
A good attempt from Sony Pictures Animation that isn’t quite groundbreaking or sequel generating (though a sequel seems to be on the cards) but makes for a fun watch especially if you’re a fan of classic monsters like Dracula, Werewolf, the Invisible Man, Frankenstein and Johnny Stein. Yes Johnny Stein!
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), fed up with the humans with pitchforks who killed his wife Martha leaving him in charge of their daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), decided a hundred years ago to build a refuge for monsters. Basically, a hotel. So out of the human gaze, monsters from fear and loathing would assemble every year at the Count’s secret getaway, secluded from the human menace. So paranoid is the Count that he builds a fake village outside the castle so his inquisitive daughter, now a woman at 118 years old, can see for herself how horrible the humans are. But he doesn’t plan for an unexpected visitor in the form of young backpacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg) who makes Mavis’s birthday, one to remember, ha ha ha ha (ominous laugh!).
What is great about Hotel Transylvania is the characters. Seeing all these menacing monsters become cute and harmless (well relatively) ogres due to being cut off from human kind is particularly funny. Of course, it’s low on scares to appeal to a younger audience of kiddos. The gradual ingratiation of Jonathan or Johnny Stein (since his secret identity has to be kept under wraps) into the fold of the monsters and the good books of Dracula is touching to watch. There are some cool scenes involving flying tables and a race through the castle on them, sorta like magic carpets. The 3D is so-so, by the way.
No there’s nothing new or unique here, but it’s entertaining and has some witty dialogue thrown in too. Executive Producer Adam Sandler has bandied together all of his buddies (Kevin James, David Spade) as well as his family (wife Jackie and daughter Sadie also provide voices to the film) to make a fun movie probably for his own family and those like his to watch this holiday season. And for the adults a subtle message that we are probably more dangerous than monsters!
I particularly loved the scene at the end when Jonathan is watching Twilight on his airplane seat screen and Dracula comments on it (I won’t spoil it for you). So, so true people.