Hotel Transylvania

By Kathryn Schroeder
Released: September 28, 2012
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Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of his best friends - Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Werewolf family, and more - to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis's 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem - but everything could change for the overprotective dad when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.

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Film Review
Selena Gomez and the Happy Madison gang, plus some fellow SNL cast members, have all gotten together to make an animated movie, Hotel Transylvania, for children. They manage to accomplish creating an entertaining and funny film that has a great deal of heart, without needing to resort to an abundance of potty mouth jokes or lewd situations. Hotel Transylvania may be the best film many of the actors in the movie have made in years, and it is refreshing to see an animated film filled with the comedic voice talents audiences are familiar with doing what they do best, humoring us.

In Hotel Transylvania Dracula's (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is about to turn 118, a rite of passage for a vampire. Every year of Mavis' life her father has thrown her a party with all of their monster friends visiting to help celebrate. They stay at Dracula's Hotel, a place he built with every care in mind for Mavis' safety. Humans cannot get to the hotel and no one except monsters are allowed in, ever. Dracula is incredibly protective of Mavis, and he swore to her mother before she passed away that he would always keep her safe. He has for 118 years but Mavis is getting restless, just as any teenager would, and wants to see the world. Relying on scare tactics and old wives tales Dracula keeps everyone believing that humans hate monsters, and would like nothing more than to harm them should they venture out into the real world. A simple plan to keep Mavis from wanting to leave Hotel Transylvania, and the safety it provides, leads to an adventurous young human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), to stumble into the hotel and change the way monsters and humans interact forever all because of the "zing."

Filled with a host of charismatic monsters, Hotel Transylvania never falters in providing an abundance of visual entertainment. Kevin James provides the voice of the gentle giant Frankenstein, a monster who is far too afraid to fly so he ships himself to the hotel in pieces, in boxes. The skill involved in putting Uncle Frankenstein back together is not an easy fete. A monster bash would not be complete with The Invisible Man (David Spade), or a pack of Werewolves led by Papa Wolf (Steve Buscemi) who is trying his best to stay sane amongst his group of rambunctious cubs. It is a good thing the flying witch housekeepers swoop in and clean up any mess the cubs make, and they make plenty--a sponge monster who giggles when soaking up liquids on the floor is delightfully funny. There is also of course the Zombie valets and a skeleton mariachi band to keep the guests entertained. The details for all of the monsters, and the given backstory to their characters, makes Hotel Transylvania am amusing diversion at the movies. The heart of the film created by Sandler's Dracula character and his incredible love for his daughter is what holds it all together. There is a sweet, gentle nature to the entire story. The romance that develops between Mavis and the human Jonathan is the only downside to Hotel Transylvania, mostly because Jonathan borders on being obnoxious, but he grows on you as he does Dracula and the rest of the monsters. The aforementioned zing is the feeling you get when you meet the one you are meant to spend the rest of your life with. The zing is important, and Hotel Transylvania focuses a great deal on the zing in the end, while playing up the best schtick in slapstick romantic comedies--the small car bit where everyone races to bring the lovebirds together. In this case its more complicated because everyone is a monster.

Hotel Transylvania has the humor and the heart desired in an animated picture to entertain children and adults alike. It may not be as sophisticated as a Pixar film, and the animation is standard fare, but the movie amuses the viewer, and makes the best out of the subject matter. Monsters can be a great deal of fun, and the ones in Hotel Transylvania never cease to provide a good time.
Comedy Factor
Hotel Transylvania may be an animated film but that does not mean the voices behind the characters go unnoticed. A host of comedic talent abounds in the film, including Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher (poking fun at her voice of course), Molly Shannon, David Spade, and even Jon Lovitz, to name only some. The jokes are silly and fun, the slapstick physical comedy made better with the fact that the characters are monsters. The Invisible Man loves to mess with everyone but he can be fooled, to the viewer's delight. The werewolf children are a bunch of rascals getting into a great deal of trouble, and providing laughs along the way. Dracula himself is quite the comedian, and Sandler trades in his usual nasal whine to bring Dracula to the screen. The lullaby he sings his daughter Mavis in the beginning of the film will have you laughing, as will his quick to fire temper when you see the monster behind the cool and calm disposition. Hotel Transylvania is pure fun, without any pretensions or overreaching in order to get the joke. It is a simple children's comedy that has enough comedic visuals and actions, as well as sly jokes in the dialogue to please kids and adults alike.

Children and Family, Fantasy, Comedy
Release Date
September 28, 2012
MPAA Rating