Hey there. Looking for a fun filled family flick to catch with the family? Then look no further than Sony and Columbia Pictures latest animated film, Hotel Transylvania. I caught this film this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and presentation of the film. Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg team up and lend their voices to this great story of parental love and a monster bash. So lets take a look at what worked and what didn’t work in the film.
Imagine a place where the world’s monsters go to just be themselves and relax. Humans scare the crap out of them so they live out in the world in fear of man kind. When Dracula decides to build a high end hotel resort for all of his monster brethren, he invites them all to the hotel and celebrate his daughter’s birthday. All of your monster favorites make an appearance: Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Werewolf, and even The Invisible Man. Despite all the monsters, they all have a quirky humor that makes them seem human. From everyone picking on The Invisible Man to everyone giving The Werewolf a hard time for having a huge family. It’s almost as if the film has a “Grown Ups” type humorous feel to it.
One of the things that did and didn’t work was the voice acting. Adam Sandler is known to having his friends appear in his movies. Kevin James and Steve Buscemi are regulars in his films now a days. Hotel Transylvania is no different. Adam Sandler does a great Dracula. I was surprised to find out that he provided the voice for the Count. But that was pretty much it, as far as voice acting goes. Everyone else voiced what they do in real life. Kevin James provided the voice of the big, lovable (albeit absent minded) Frankenstein, Andy Samberg did the scrawny human, Selena Gomez was the doe eyed “young” girl who falls in love, and Steve Buscemi is the little respected and sleep deprived Werewolf. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was enjoyable, but it sure wasn’t because of the voice acting. But in a weird way… the voices worked. Because the voice actors practically played themselves in the film, it was easy to picture Kevin James as Frankie, you believed that Mavis, Dracula’s daughter, was Selena Gomezesque, and having Adam play the leader of the gang came natural to him in the role of Dracula.
Now, the plot of the film is something that I thought was exceptionally well played out. I saw two stories unfold throughout the film. The story of a young woman trying to find her place in the world and a father struggling with the idea of having to let his daughter go and allow her to grow up. As a parent, the letting go of your daughter plot really hit home. As a dad, you want to protect your daughter from the perils that mankind may bring. You will go to great lengths to make sure she’ll be safe. But just how far will you go? Dracula knows that his daughter, Mavis, wants to go out in the world. She wants to experience something outside of the Hotel. Dracula grants her wish but sends her to a makeshift village that Dracula built in order to fool Mavis into believing that humans are dangerous. When Mavis finds out about the village, it creates a rift between father and daughter.
When a human, Johnathan, stumbles across the Hotel and mistakes it as a costume party, Dracula does all he can to protect his friends and daughter from the “dangerous” human. Through many hilarious hi-jinks, the aloof Johnathan, earns the respect of many of the monsters along with the love of Mavis. The up tight, control freak Dracula, however, tries to get rid of the fun and creative Johnathan every chance he gets. After discovering the truth behind Dracula’s fear of humans, Johnathan, understands the reasoning behind Dracula’s ways. Even though he tries to explain to The Count that the world is no longer the way he remembers it to be. After witnessing the spark, or “zing”, between Mavis and Johnathan, Dracula wedges between the two. Once Johnathan is found out to be a human, he pushes Mavis away with words, taking it upon himself to protect Mavis from the “dangerous” outside world. Once Dracula sees his daughter’s dreams destroyed, he seeks out Johnathan, in broad daylight, with his monster buddies. After discovering that the world is indeed different, and putting himself in harm’s way for his daughter, Dracula reunites Mavis with Johnathan and finally realizes that his little girl is growing up and allows her to see the world with Johnathan.
Hotel Transylvania has more than enough moments to keep the family chuckling. The parents will appreciate the single father trying to protect his daughter plot, everyone will enjoy the jokes and humorous moments that are sprinkled throughout the film (who knew the Invisible Man has red hair? lol). It’s a charming film where the voice actors are voicing what is essentially their animated counter parts. And even though the movie is not perfect, this is a film that you will definitely enjoy watching. Whether you’re a parent or not.