Hotel Transylvania: Reservations

By Sandra Olmsted

It would seem that one can never escape the Twilight saga, and director Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania provides another riff on vampires and humans coexisting. After his beloved wife is killed by pitchfork-weilding peasants, Drac (Adam Sandler), driven by the need to protect his tiny daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), builds a hotel where monsters can be themselves because no human can cross the haunted forests or get past the landmine-esque field of zombies bursting from their graves.

Years pass, and although Drac still thinks of Mavis as a little girl, she’s now 118 and ready to test her batwings, challenge her father’s fear of humans, and experience the world. Drac has a plan to scare Mavis into staying within the safe confines of the hotel, and it almost works until Jonathan (Andy Samberg), an American backpacker with a surfer-dude vibe, stumbles into the hotel. He’s young, human, a threat to everything that dear old Drac has built over the year, and, consequently, batnip to Mavis. Mavis and Jonathan take one look at each other, and, “zing,” they are in love! Drac complains, “I can’t kill him; it would set monsters back hundreds of years!”  Besides, human blood is “so fatty, and you never know where it’s been!” Will Jonathan escape Hotel Transylvania? Will Drac smuggle Jonathan out of the hotel without his guests learning a human has violated their vacation hideaway? Will Drac loose his business? Will young love prevail?

The film starts with all the monsters arriving for the annual party on Mavis’ birthday which proves an efficient way to introduce this large cast of vacationing monsters, who are ripoffs of Universal Studios’ monster lineup. The Werewolf family, Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Wanda (Molly Shannon), and their rambunctious litter create a stir to rival the Tasmanian Devil. Frankenstien (Kevin James) is always going to pieces, much to wife Eunice’s (Fran Drescher) dismay. Murray the Mummy (CeeLo Green), the Invisible Man (David Spade), and Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) provide some laughs while the shrunken heads as “do not disturb” signs seem right out of Harry Potter.

The totally awesome flying table sequence promises the development of a relationship between Drac and Jonathan; unfortunately, it’s only hinted at, but such a relationship could have added character development especially if Mavis had gotten jealous of Jonathan becoming the son Drac never had. The hand-drawn end credits, with their stylized, 1950s modern feel, offer a nice contrast to the hyperactive style of the film

While the 3D adds little to the film, the inspired score by Mark Mothersbaugh is delightful. The acting is a little flat for the talent of the cast, especially Sandler who slips in and out of his overdone Transylvanian accent and often sounds more like Opera Man with a sore throat (no pun intended). While this story of an overprotective father and his eagar-to-see-the-world daughter would have powered a television episode for a half hour or more, it doesn’t support a feature. Hotel Transylvania is a Columbia Pictures presentation of a Sony Pictures Animation production, the movie runs 91 minutes and is rated PG for some rude humor, action, and scary images.  Check out Olmsted’s other film  reviews at www.thecinematicskinny.com.



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