Bela Lugosi is somewhere spinning in his grave right now.
Count Dracula (voiced by Sandler) runs a swanky private hotel for monsters who wish to get away from the world and just “rest in peace.” A wrench is thrown into the works when a young boy (voiced by Andy Samberg) discovers the hotel and falls for Drac’s daughter (voiced by Selena Gomez).
Even though this looks like your typical piece of kiddie-flare that kids will be beating their parents over the head for weeks to go out and see (which it is), it still surprised me to know that the guy behind all of this is Genndy Tartakovsky. Hmm, Genndy Tartakovsky? Name ring a bell? Okay, well, does the name Samurai Jack sound familiar to you? That’s right, Adam Sandler’s next vehicle is directed by the same dude who had a show on Cartoon Network where it focused on one dude, going around the world, and silently chopping monsters and creatures up. It’s a weird change of pace for Tartakovsky considering how original and different that show was, and how unoriginal and bland this kiddie-movie is. Money makes people do the darnedest things.
Obviously I am not the target-audience for a movie like this, but they could have at least tried a little harder to garner my attention, rather than just constantly throwing out lame fart gags, one-after-another. Since this is a Sandler-vehicle, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see all of the lowbrow humor come into play but I expected there to be a bit more jokes that make fun of the way monsters are viewed at as in the 21st century. Some of that idea is actually here, but it’s never played-up for any smart laughs, but instead, all come off as cheap and the usual stuff that gets kids howling at the top of their lungs.
And hey, I don’t want to sound like a big old piece of shit or anything, because I didn’t hate this movie and I don’t hate fun and laughter, I just don’t like it when movies don’t take advantage of a fun premise because they feel the need to be stupid for little kiddies. Kids, if you give them the right material, will laugh at almost anything but it’s the parents and how much they laugh at the material, is what really matters and there is a big difference for this movie in matters of kids laughter vs. parents laughter. For instance, the movie theater I was at to see this movie had a bunch of kids, accompanied by adults and the kids, did most of the laughing considering it was a whole bunch of silly gags that would just randomly show-up. However, when the film decided to be clever and actually witty with itself, the parents were the only ones who actually laughed, and in a way, I guess I put myself in that category as well considering I had a good chuckle or two at the more-wittier jokes. Not to say that my comedy-ideas are all about being witty and above everybody else’s standards, but there just seemed to be more kids laughing at dumb stuff, than any other adult in the theater with me.
However, that’s not to say that the film isn’t entertaining to watch because it sure as hell is. Tartakovsky obviously knows what does and what doesn’t work when it comes to animation, and here, he shows off that he does know what works considering there is so much color and flair to every shot in the flick. Hell, some scenes were filled with so much going-on that it almost seemed a bit distracting, but it’s always great to see a bunch of beautiful and vibrant colors get thrown at us, especially by a guy who knows how to use this animation to his advantage. Even though I did not see this in 3D, I still know that it would be a sight to see regardless and is maybe worth the extra money you’ll be paying with if you bring a kiddie. But if you go by yourself, you won’t have to worry, although it is pretty weird that you’re going to see this movie all-alone.
The other reason why this film is entertaining is because of the whole cast involved. Recently, Adam Sandler really seems to have lost his comedic and funny-touch when it comes to comedies, but the guy seems like he’s having a lot of fun here camping it up as Count Dracula. Obviously, people will know it’s Sandler right from the start because of his voice, but it’s still nice to see and the Count actually makes a pretty fun and interesting character to watch, despite him being as every bit as the conventional and predictable, over-protective daddy as you would expect.
Then, there’s the rest of Sandler’s crew that shows up and they all do fine jobs on their own. Andy Samberg was fun and wacky as the human that shows up and is probably Samberg’s first time actually being able to let-loose in a comedy, after his SNL split. His little romance with Selena Gomez is good because they are both likable and feel very realistic, and also because Gomez’s voice is just enchanting and in a way, dare I say it, sexy. I know I may have just lost some fans due to that comment but hey, it’s what I thought about when I was watching this PG-rated movie. There’s a slew of other characters in this film like Frankenstein (voiced by Kevin James), The Mummy (voiced by Cee-Lo Green), The Werewolf (voiced by Steve Buscemi), and the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade), and they’re all good but also make it seem like another Hollywood production that was made with the intention of having Sandler and all of his buddies hangout while we watch it. It’s not so terrible this time around but it does come off as a bit selfish if you think about.
Consensus: Even though it is your typical, kiddie fare with jokes that will have them howling, Hotel Transylvania is still a fun and entertaining flick with a great look of animation, interesting story, and a voice cast that handles all of their material well.