Hotel Transylvania. A cartoon family movie with Adam Sandler starring as Dracula – what’s to like about that? …Quite a lot, actually.
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexters’ Lab, Samurai Jack) and a screenplay by Peter Smigel (Saturday Night Live) and Peter Baynham (Borat, I’m Alan Partridge, Arthur Christmas), this film is pleasantly surprising. I’m quite a fan of the Animated family film genre but not everything is gold. I like good animation, unusual character voice choices and witty scripts. I approached this with one trepidation but it turns out that it has all three.
Often when an Adam Sandler project comes out, a groan of “here we go again” follows from fans and critics alike. The man has built himself a niche market not unlike Martin Lawrence or Rob Schneider for broad appeal bland family films where you can almost see how dead he is behind the smiling eyes of whatever semi-retarded character he’s bringing to the screen this time. Perhaps it’s because we can’t see him that this works – his performance feels to me like he genuinely enjoys the character, not unlike Steve Carrell’s Gru in Despicable Me.
The story follows Dracula who has set up a hotel in remote Transylvania, tucked away from the prying eyes and pitchforks of humans where all monsters can come to be themselves and not worry about being run out of town or killed. Every monster you can think of makes an appearance here and they’re all deliciously played by past Sandler/SNL collaborators including Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade and Jon Lovitz.Dracula has a daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) who is coming of age and curious about the outside world – a curiosity that Dracula tries hard to quell to keep his daughter safe from harm. Everything is going fine until the world in the form of Jonathan (Samberg) comes to them.
As a family film it has its share of fart jokes and terrible pop music that I can only assume that the kids are into these days so if that’s not your kind of thing there will be moments of, “Why am I watching this?” but they are few and far between.
Give this one a go. You might be pleasantly surprised.