Monday, October 01, 2012

Hotel Transylvania

Would I have seen Hotel Transylvania if I hadn't looked it up on IMDB for a "Next Week" entry and seen that Genndy Tartatovsky was directing? Probably not. Heck, Sunday evening, I hemmed and hawed about heading out to Arlington even after I'd printed the MoviePass voucher out.

Kind of glad I did, although I kind of suspect it will be the least of the three monster-oriented animated features coming out - ParaNorman is really good, and word on Frankenweenie is that it's the best thing Tim Burton has done in some time. It's also kind of amusing that both this and Burton's movie do a fair amount of Universal Monsters riffing while the one distributed by a Universal label (Focus) doesn't, despite coming out when they're celebrating their 100th anniversary.

Funny thing about writing this review: It probably comes across that I'm a much bigger fan of Genndy Tartakovsky than I am. Fact of the matter is, I've never seen Sym-bionic Titan or much of his Samurai Jack or Clone Wars work, and really only a little Dexter's Laboratory. I basically know that his reputation is very, very good. Still, it does fit a nice narrative about how, every once in a while, Adam Sandler will occasionally do something with a real director and remind you that there's some actual potential there. And then, when Punch Drunk Love or Spanglish doesn't exactly light the world on fire, he'll go back and do another round of comedies for people with low standards

Hotel Transylvania

* * * (out of four)
Seen 30 September 2012 in Arlington Capitol #1 (first-run, Real-D 3D)

Rule of thumb: A good Adam Sandler movie means that Sandler has opted to step away from the assembly line and work with a noteworthy director. This year, it's Genndy Tartakovsky of Samurai Jack and Dexter's Laboratory fame making his feature debut with a zippy but fun animated feature.

"Hotel Transylvania" is no ordinary hotel; built in 1895 by Count Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler), it is meant to serve as a refuge from the human world for monsters of all kinds. Every year, it's host to a lavish birthday party for Dracula's daughter Mavis (voice of Selena Gomez) - Frankenstein (voice of Kevin James), Wayne the Wolfman (voice of Steve Buscemi), Murray the Mummy (voice of CeeLo Green), the Invisible Man (voice of David Spade), and more come. This year, though, there's an uninvited guest - Jonathan (voice of Andy Samberg), a human backpacker who stumbles onto the hotel just as Dracula is trying to find a way around his promise that Mavis could leave to see the world when she turned 118.

It's not hard to imagine Hotel Transylvania as an animated television series along the lines of Tartataovsky's Dexter's Laboratory; it's got a big, genial cast of broad characters, tells simple jokes, many visual, and doesn't care too much about how well its world fits together. Those aren't faults, though - it's a movie made for kids, who will likely seldom find themselves bored as the story bounces from one gag to the next without ever getting too complicated that they lose track of the basic things it's trying to say ("monsters" are just different sorts of people who are as scared of you as you are of them, and while parents sometimes try too hard to keep you safe, they will eventually learn to trust).

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

Zack Mandell said...

I personally think this movie looks like a great one to take the kids to. It looked like it will supply us with a lot of good laughs.