Hotel Transylvania

In the dark of the theatre,
Barely anyone there,
Warm smell of my popcorn
Rising up through the air…

Up ahead on the big screen
I watched the shimmering lights
The art was iffy and the humor, dim.
I had to put up a fight!

There he was doing voices,
Adam Sandler as Drac
And I was thinking to myself,
“Can I get my money back?”

He was joined in by Samberg
Who also got in the way
Then the voices of their friends showed up!
Which leads me to say…

I sat through the “Hotel Transylvania”!
Such an average film.
Such an average film…
I can’t recommend you the “Hotel Transylvania”!
If you’re movie bound
There’s better things around!

While welcoming family and friends from the monster community to his hotel for his daughter’s 118th birthday, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is shocked when a human (Andy Samberg), Johnny, accidentally stumbles onto the premises. His hotel is founded on the platform of freedom from the persecution and danger that people present, so it would be disastrous for him if his guests were to see a person there. In an effort to smuggle the human out of the hotel without being seen, Dracula disguises him as a Frankenstein-variety monster and creates a cover story that Johnny is actually on site to help with the party.

When Johnny and his daughter (Selena Gomez) cross paths, however, they experience a spark of attraction. This is problematic for Drac, not just because Johnny is actually a human, but because he’s a world traveler. For her entire youth, Dracula has kept his daughter in the hotel, holding her there by frightening her with stories of the dangers that humans pose.

And so, a comedy of errors ensues, with Dracula forced into a variety of awkward situations trying to protect Johnny’s secret, and trying to get him out of the hotel while a variety of contrived obstacles get in the way. Worse for him though, is that Johnny is starting to win the affection of the guests, primarily his daughter.

“Hotel Transylvania” is a spotty film, at best. That is to say, there were certain enjoyable elements in spots, but they’re surrounded by intense mediocrity. The animation is primarily centered around the creature design, which director Genndy Tartakovsky (“Samurai Jack”) has obviously put his stamp on. Unfortunately, his 2D sensibilities don’t always translate well to CGI animation, and the creatures wind up being hit and miss. The rest of the animation is generic and nondescript across the board.

In terms of the voice work, Selena Gomez plays it straight, but Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg adopt affectations that really detract from the movie. Sandler uses a clichéd Dracula “blah” that comes across as annoying, in spite of the film’s meta efforts to acknowledge it as a joke. Samberg’s Jonathan speaks in an equally annoying “dude” dialect, as if he was some sort of world traveling surfer burnout. The supporting character voices are all fun, particularly Steve Buscemi’s Wolfman (hands down the best character in the film), and it’s amusing to try and ID the parade of voices (Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Spade, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz, and Cee Lo Green all have parts), but having the two leads be so irritating is a really poor choice.

Aside from the high concept of a “Hotel for monsters”, “Hotel Transylvania” is an uninteresting story of an overprotective father trying to shelter his daughter to an unhealthy extent. While there are a number of humorous monster related gags, for the most part it’s a hide, lie and disguise comedy… and ultimately winds up being an inconsistent, bland animated offering.

C

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33 thoughts on “Hotel Transylvania

  1. Sucks that Sandler continues to be put a stake in the heart of movies everywhere even animated ones. Funny post beginning rhyming piece like “Hotel California” song; clever. Guess there are far better cartoon fare out there like Paranorman and soon Frankenweenie. Thanks for the heads up on this Drac- I mean drek (he he).

    • LOL. The title was too close to Hotel Californie to resist.

      There definitely is better animated fare out there. I’ll tell you this though. Samberg’s character killed things for me as much as Sandler’s did. He played this stoner dude, broh… LOL Seemed at least ten years out of sync. Maybe more.

  2. Great lyrical review up front… :D

    I had a feeling a middling grade from most people was going to be in the works for this. The basic concept has some definite potential, but… once I saw it was a Sandler picture, my expectations went down. Then I started noticing a lot of the other voice actors. Sandler crony, Sandler crony, Sandler crony… there are some exceptions (Buscemi), but it seemed like it was going to be another “Hey, let’s get all my friends together and make a movie” deal instead of going for people who were actually good at voice acting.

    It’s funny… I almost had a little hope for this, since I’ve noticed several comic actors I don’t like much become tolerable in animated form. Doesn’t sound like Adam Sandler is going to be one of them, though.

    • :D Glad it’s been well received.

      Meanwhile, Sandler’s cronies were actually the best part of the film… between playing “Now who’s voice is thaaaat?” and the fact that their characters didnt get as much screen time (so their thinness didnt have as much chance to be exposed), they were easily the most enjoyable aspect of the movie!

      I cant recommend it though. People’s mileage will very, but to me it was just… “Blah”. LOL Pardon my pun. :D

  3. I was forced to see it today….I wasn’t impressed, although the end was reasonably cute so at least I left with a good feeling. My 7 year old liked it.

  4. When it comes to animations, there have been so many god ones as to set the bar high. Pixar has killed it with humor on levels for all ages. Dreamworks comes a very close second. I too was coming into this expecting more humor and got very little. The funniest part for me was the wolf eating the sheep and then arguing with the mummy about eating mutton. My kids loved it and I think this was the target audience, plain and simple. The adult humor was barely there.

    • Yeah, well, unfortunately, as you say, Bruce… there are SO many animated movies which have set the bar high. They appeal to both adults AND children. This certainly isnt one of them.

      I completely agree… the Wolfman was far and away the best part of the film. I liked when he was trying to get sleep. LOL. Buscemi was the perfect choice for that role. If they did a spin off movie about him and his pack, I actually might be interested. :D

  5. I just read another review that gave it pretty much a similar rating as you did, Fogs. The trailer looks funny but sounds like this one is only worth a rental on a slow night.

  6. Too bad you didn’t care for it. I loved it. Chuckled through the whole thing. Maybe it’s the little kid inside me that got the humor. I definitely will buy this one when it comes out.

  7. I like Sandler, well… in many a film at least. It wasn’t the best of films, but I didn’t dislike it. I enjoyed the humour for the most part and had an enjoyable time watching. Nice review no less.

    • Thanks Three, there’s no crime in disagreeing. I found it fun in parts, so I can see that. Its just that – for me – those times wound up offset at some point or another by something… not as fun. LOL

      So it wound up a wash for me.

      Always glad to hear the differing opinions though, thanks! :D

    • Heh. I got a little cutesy with it, I’ll admit it. :D

      I dont know, its not the worst movie ever or anything. A couple of people commenting here have spoke more highly of it, Nedi…

      I dont think youd be missing that much if you waited it out until it hit the home market, though, I guess.

      • Yeah…that’s what I am thinking.

        I am already falling behind–there are a bunch of movies that have slipped through, so waiting on meh-movies is not a bad idea.

        Finally posted Looper and I still missing a bunch–ahh! Why does life have to get in the way of my blogging…:D

  8. Theoretically, I should enjoy this film. The fact that I can not find any enthusiasm for it not a good sign for it. If I watch it, it will have to be sometime after it shows up on Netflix, if that ever happens.

  9. Pingback: Weekly Weblinks: Willis and White Whales | Morgan on Media

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