Count Dracula maintains that he built Hotel Transylvania so all his monster fiends could have a place to be themselves without fear of reprise from flaming-torch waving humans but like any other dad, he just wants to keep his daughter locked up and ‘safe’ from the world. On Mavis Dracula’s 118 th birthday her daddy finally runs out of excuses to keep her locked up. At first, Hotel Transylvania seems to be following a well worn track but finds a way to tap into our love of monster stories while being extremely cute at the same time.
Adam Sandler voices Count Dracula, a cuddly and pragmatic version of Bram Stoker’s vision of the undead who has a penchant for party planning. He’s realised that killing humans is more trouble than it’s worth so when a back-packing human youth stumbles upon Mavis’ monster mash, Dracula makes an executive decision to try and pass him off as a monster until he can be safely escorted from the premises. But things don’t go to plan, one of the problems being that Mavis takes a shine to this specimen of her formerly eternal enemy and food source.
The previously mentioned cuteness of this animation [it’s the humble bat’s turn to receive the cute treatment] is thoroughly backed up by some extremely fun scenes and quite a few laughs. The writers (Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel et al) of this feature certainly seemed to access their imagination and memories of childhood monster fiction for a lot of the action, as did director Genndy Tartakovsky.
The monsters themselves are over the top and comical, especially the Mummy (voiced by CeeLo Green) and the shambling Zombies, but do retain a tiny murdery edge, especially Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) and his human-detecting rodent. The dialogue seems to flow very easily which makes sense when you find out that some of the comedians voicing the monsters were actually in the studio together.
Many animations feel they need to slip in lots of adult-pleasing lines which will swoop over the kiddies heads like flying dinner tables in a Hotel Transylvania ballroom but this film doesn’t really do that. It looks good, focuses on the fun and exploitation of the old-misunderstood monster angle AND it’s Adam Sandler’s best work for a long time. See this if you desperately need a reason not to hate him.
Maryann has awarded Hotel Transylvania three Torches of Truth.