Oct 022012
 

hotel_transylvania

Adam Sandler voices Count Dracula in the hyperactive new animated family comedy Hotel Transylvania. Along with running a hotel that occupies just about every monster and creature you’ve seen or read about, the count is doing his very best in protecting his young 118 year-old daughter from the outside world; yet what happens when she falls for a human disguised as a creature? And more importantly, can Adam Sandler’s voice ever be in a decent film? Find out after the jump.

Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) is more than over-protective of his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) whose 118th birthday is coming up. She wishes more than anything to explore the world and meet people who aren’t creatures or monsters and who exist beyond the walls of the Hotel Transylvania. Yes, The Count is known not for being the ultimate vampire, but for running a fancy 5-star hotel dedicated to all creatures and monsters looking to get away from the human world (which is a large majority given their reputations). These monsters include: The Big Bad Wolf (Steve Buscemi), The Mummy (CeeLo Green), Frankenstein’s monster (Kevin James) and The Invisible Man (David Spade), just to name a few.

Things however turn sour when a human accidentally stumbles into the hotel, unknown of its occupants. The human goes by the name of Jonathan (Andy Samberg) a 20 something happy-go-lucky tourist whom Dracula has to keep disguised in order to keep the peace and sanctity of the hotel. However, when Mavis discovers him things only get more complicated. Much to Dracula’s dismay  love begins to blossom between Mavis and the unwanted human visitor, and  the chances of his cover being blown increase dramatically. Can Dracula get Jonathan out before anyone discovers that he’s a human, whilst at the same time keep his daughter on what her already short leash?

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Before anything can be said about Hotel Transylvania or if it’s even remotely decent, two things must be addressed: 1. I can imagine after reading that synopsis you’re instantly going “Oh dear god, they’ve adapted Twilight into an animated series! When will this mediocre madness end??” Well, I can promise that it’s not that, far from it – in fact it does just about everything Twilight fails to do (One of those things isn’t casting Adam Sandler making fart noises in between Bella and Edward). 2. And most importantly, as much as I hate most recent Adam Sandler “comedies”, I don’t go in hoping for any of his films to be bad, but instead with the hopes that he picks a decent character to act out and possibly return to being funny. Well, I am more than happy to inform you that Hotel Transylvania is funny and charming and a return to form for just about every cast member mentioned earlier, especially Sandler! No, seriously.

It might be the animation or the intended family audience, but these are all characters who are fun and likable and want to love you. There’s no reliance on making fun of other people or beating up old women but instead, it plays on the clichés that we know and recognise with each of these monster characters, it does just about the opposite of what his other “comedies” do. The voice acting from all involved is superb, something about Sandler with a Russian/Transylvanian accent makes him a lot less irritating, this is seriously a minor comeback for him. The animation is superb and while the screenplay relies on kids film gimmicks and clichés (see synopsis above), it has strength in both its characters and gags, which surprisingly are.. You know, funny!

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If you’re still doubting all of what’s being said, this might help. The film is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who was the creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls (to name a few). The humour is just as strong and consistent as any of those shows (not even kidding). But above all, it’s not catered just for kids like most of the kids film offerings of late (example: Madagascar 3); its humour and decent characters broaden the range significantly – this is that kids film that works for everyone.

Is this enough to forgive Sandler for That’s My Boy and Just Go With It? Of course not, but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction. It’s almost odd hearing him say something funny, accent or otherwise. Yes, it’s cliché and at times predictable – and no it won’t change your life, but for those brief 84 minutes you’ll have a big goofy smile on your face and you’ll forget that you’ve surrendered yourself to a kids film starring Adam Sandler.
 

3.5/5
 
By Chris Elena.

 

The Facts

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writer(s): Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel
Starring: (Voices) Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Release Date(s) Australia: September 20, 2012; New Zealand: September 27, 2012; USA: September 28, 2012

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