Review: Hotel Transylvania / Cert: PG / Director: Genndy Tartakovsky / Screenplay: Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel / Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samber, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi / Release Date: February 4th 2013
No, we never thought we'd see the day either. Dracula, a doting single dad, changing nappies and strumming a ukulele. And going into the hotel business. Actually, that last bit we can believe – the Prince of Darkness always did dress like a maitre d'. What's next, though – Jason Voorhees opening a summer camp?
Anyhow, welcome to Hotel Transylvania. The resort in question is a human-free haven where misunderstood supernaturals can cower in safety from the outside world (for a price, presumably, so cash-strapped denizens of the night should probably steer clear or apply for a job as a porter). It's here that Drac (Sandler), traumatized by the death of his beloved wife and shunning mankind, has raised his daughter Mavis (Gomez). Despite his best efforts to dampen her curiosity, she longs to experience the world beyond the hotel walls, and things come to a head when Andy Samberg's fresh-faced backpacker dude accidentally gatecrashes her monster mash of a 118th birthday party.
Afraid of causing a stampede among his people-allergic guests, Dracula disguises the backpacker, Jonathan, as his 'Frankenhomie', then has to struggle to keep him away from his instantly smitten daughter. Jonathan, meanwhile, takes it upon himself to up the tempo of what is a decidedly dull gathering. Part of the reason for this yawn-worthiness is the control freaky Count himself – “Mr Tight Coffin,” as one character puts. But it's also due to the fact that these monsters are getting on a bit and it shows. As the jokes about their senile fuddy-duddiness pile up, they quickly start to seem less like dark outsiders than the cast of Cocoon, only with fangs and capes. Consequently, instead of the parable about intolerance it sets out to be, Hotel Transylvania turns into another one of those twinkly Hollywood how-cute-is-your-grandad comedies, with horror spoof and teen rom-com trimmings.
Tweens should cope with this well enough, but you could imagine younger kids growing a little restive. What will keep them in their seats, however, is the wonderful job done by the animators in cramming every frame with motion and colour: a dogfight with flying dinner tables, Kevin James' Frankenstein (the big guy has rarely had more swagger), and the kind of background hustle and bustle that will furnish new delights even on a fourth or fifth viewing. All of this attention to detail bursts from the screen on Blu. You can almost feel the difference between Wayne the werewolf's Brillo Pad bristles and the silky down which coats Dracula and Mavis when they're in bat form. The worm cake looks deliciously moist, too. Adding to the longevity of the disc are some well executed and child friendly extras.
Extras: Commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovksy, Producer Michelle Murdocca and Visual Effects Supervisor Daniel Kramer / Goodnight Mr. Foot Mini-movie / Deleted scenes / “Monster Remix” Music Video with Becky G and will.i.am / Meet the staff and Guests: Voicing Hotel Transylvania / Making the Hotel / Progression reels