REVIEW: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA
SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of his best friends – Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Werewolf family, and more – to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem – but everything could change for the overprotective dad when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
REVIEW: Director Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack) brings us this lively jerky, slapstick computer animation, with lots of ingenious touches, including a constantly moving camera view that seems to highlight the 3-D effects. As added brilliance, the voice casting is spectacular, as Sandler seemingly assembled his cadre of buddies (Kevin James voicing Frankenstein, David Spade as the Invisible Man, Steve Buscemi as the Wolfman) for recording sessions that probably translated in to an awesome time for them at the studios and was reflected in the movie as an awesome time for us.
Personally I think that the movie is handled in good taste because parents can rest assure that the movie is a good introductory "monster movie" for little kids with the monsters being somewhat cuddly in appearance, playful and mischievously colorful. The story focuses on Dracula and his daughter Mavis as she comes of age (118yrs old!) with the only potentially frightening elements being Dracula's occasional funny angry face, which he flashes when he can't control his rage (it only lasts a split second, but it's a bit demonic looking, in comparison to the majority of the characters’ expressions), and a mob scene that puts a central character in danger. Furthermore, I like that there is also a back story (despite it involving humans killing the main character's mother) the writers were able to handle the subject-matter quite delicately and fittingly.
Needless to say, I’m not implying that there aren't some downsides to this flick and I would even go as far as to say that it is certainly not a Pixar masterpiece. As a matter of fact, If I had to highlight a couple of things that were a bit daunting, I would have to start with the constant use of the word "zing" (meaning a romantic spark between couples) quickly becoming annoying (possibly to the average adult), as do some of the repetitive jokes about the werewolf-couple offspring’s poop and the Bride of Frankenstein's hen-pecking (voiced by Fran Drescher – some might find annoyingly so). Nevertheless, despite the tiny missteps, kids (which obviously, are the movie's target audience), I’m convinced, will relate to Mavis, laugh at Dracula and his friends, and be completely invested in this monster mash of an animated comedy.
Taken as a whole, the soundtrack is awesome, amongst the many good attributes of this latest Pixar feature and I think the movie is well suited for its target audience. Furthermore, I believe that it worked well enough to receive four stars (out of five) for content, tact, and overall entertainment value.
By Movie-Man Stan
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