Name a family film, and it will probably feature either a) a dad that abandoned the family, or b) a dad that is overprotective. Hotel Transylvania partakes in the latter, as Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), afraid of losing his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), forbids her from leaving the house. Though at the ripe age of 117 going on 118, Mavis wants to see the world, and Dracula goes to such lengths as manufacturing a fake, hostile town to dissuade her.
Since humans hate and wish to kill monsters (something that folks on the IMDB message boards insist is a reference to racism), Count Dracula seeks to construct a massive hotel in a castle as a refuge for monsters the world over. Of course, a human makes his way in, and Dracula spends most of the rest of his night trying to disguise him from the monsters. AND OF COURSE, this human male falls for Mavis. Hijinks ensue. Chris is grumpy after the movie.
Tonight’s entertainment will be provided by pictures of superior Dracula adaptations.
This movie actually looks pretty great. Nice-looking textures, sharp character design and vibrant colors really make the picture pop, and some of the exaggerated animations can be entertaining when they’re not being overdone. While I missed the 3D showing, however, I am told that the effect is very poor.
As much as I hate to admit it, I laughed a couple of times. Frankenstein breaking apart after jumping into the pool or a zombie on the verge of tears after being forbidden to take a mannequin home made me chuckle, though it was more due to the strength of the animation, and not the writing. To be fair though, there are a couple of fun lines such as Dracula saying that he doesn’t drink human blood because “you never know where it’s been.”
Unfortunately, for the rest of the even remotely funny bits, the movie runs with it and recycles the same humor over and over again. Dracula’s angry devil face? How funny! Let’s see it another five times! Old monsters playing Bingo? Hilarious! Why not draw it out for another few minutes? For some reason, everybody seems to think that Dracula ends every sentence with “blah blah blah” (literally), so the movie has various characters talk in a Transylvanian accent and end their sentences with “blah blah blah”…over half a dozen times. It’s incredibly rare that having a joke repeated ad nauseum works, and Hotel Transylvania is not one of those cases.
Yeah, him too.
The rest of the humor is forced and unfunny. True to recent Sandler, the movie goes for all of the easiest laughs. Worse, some of the humor has a decent setup or a good idea, but botches the execution. It’s a little clever that Frankenstein is terrified of fire, but his trademark line “fire bad” is grating. Wolfman’s kids like to sniff his butt, Invisible Man gets bashful when nude, and the female skeleton feels violated when someone passes a hand through her ribcage. You can almost predict where most of the jokes will be going, and when the jokes are not amusing, it becomes doubly irritating.
With 95% monster antics, that leaves 5% for an incredibly thin story. The synopsis I outlined above is literally all there is to the plot, and it takes a backseat to the HEY LOOK AT HOW ZANY AND FUN OUR CELEBRITY-VOICED CLASSIC MONSTERS ARE. The plot takes a break every few minutes to focus on monster partying tailor-made for the younger generation’s sugar-fueled ADD brains. After several minutes of goofing off, the movie switches back to the bland coming-of-age story. It’s just…boring. Parents also seemed upset by the movie’s concept that you only fall in love once, and that in both of the movie’s cases, it was the first love.
Um…yes. He’s also better.
IT ENDS WITH A MUSICAL NUMBER. Everyone gets up on a stage and the entire cast joins in singing a song. This is literally the worst trend in animated comedies, and it’s terrible. There is no reason for this to happen, and it’s just a half-assed means to close off the story when an actual ending does not suffice. This movie is not a musical. So get the musical numbers out of it. I’m so angry about this particular aspect that my anger actually bored me so I had to go do something else before finishing. Then I remembered that the song has autotune.
Out of the two animated comedies Adam Sandler has been in, this is definitely the second best. Hotel Transylvania gets points for sporting a bright, attractive aesthetic and exciting character design, but falters literally everywhere else. It makes for an irritating endeavor, which is probably the worst type of family film. The audience I saw it with wasn’t even really laughing all that hard. There were a few jokes that elicited laughter, but I could hardly say that they “ate it up”. This is another sub-par animated film that elicits painful cravings for the higher quality of Pixar. Don’t check in at this Hotel (God, I’m sorry).
Take a Drink: every time a character screams.
Take a Drink: every time someone burps, farts, pees, or is “naked”.
Take a Drink: each time nobody laughs at a joke (if you’re seeing this with others).
Do a Shot (if applicable): if your child disowns you after you made them sit through this movie.