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.