Thursday, October 11, 2012
REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania 3D
Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg
September 28, 2012
Sony Pictures Animation
1 hour 31 minutes
It's strange that Adam Sandler can be a driving turnoff to films, even if they're animated. Personally, I wasn't looking forward to 'Hotel Transylvania' all that much because it just seemed like it was another "Adam Sandler & Friends" movie, only this time about monsters staying at a hotel. However there was some hope to be had, as the first time director of this film, Genndy Tartakovsky, has created three of Cartoon Network's best television shows: 'The Powerpuff Girls,' 'Dexter's Laboratory,' and 'Samurai Jack.' While it did have the kids jokes flying non-stop, this movie surprised the hell out of me. It was consistently funny, extremely heartfelt, and has some of the best animation in a film all year. ‘Hotel Transylvania’ is the perfect modern Halloween movie for families everywhere, plus it’s a great introduction to famous horror monsters in a non-frightening way to little children.
Dracula swore after his wife died that he would take care of his young daughter named Mavis. It is now her 118th birthday and Mavis wants to see the world and live in paradise. Things don’t go according to her plan as Dracula convinces her that humans are evil creatures who want to kill vampires. Luckily Dracula and the residents of Hotel Transylvania are planning a big birthday celebration for her monumental day. However Dracula in his selfishness accidentally lets a human named Jonathan stumble upon the hotel that’s been human free for over a century. The lives of Dracula, Mavis, and Jonathan won’t ever be the same after this birthday event.
As surprising as this may sound, Adam Sandler really delivered as the voice of Dracula. Not only did he nail the voice nearly perfectly, but he also added a Sandler charm that we haven’t seen before in his PG rated movies. It could be because he isn’t dressed as a woman possessing the voice of possibly the most annoying woman on the face of the earth, like in ‘Jack & Jill.’ Either way, Sandler needs to be in more animated roles so he can stretch his voices out and make them more interesting and less annoying. Seriously, someone needs to fire his agent, because Sandler is in a lot of crap these days, in case you haven’t noticed. Lucky for the filmmakers behind this movie, because all of the celebrity voices shine in their own way.
Andy Samberg decided to leave the hit show ‘Saturday Night Live’ in order to pursue a movie career. After the slapstick comedy ‘That’s My Boy’ and the indie drama ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ flopped at the box office, this was his last chance to be in a big money maker at the box office. Luckily Samberg is kind of a cartoon already, so his voice fit greatly in the film as well. He’s not as crazy and fun of a character as his character in ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ but he’s still a fun character. Selena Gomez also shines as the voice of Mavis, where she brings a sort of charm and spunkiness to her character, and I really liked seeing that. Even the voices of the monsters, which ranged from Kevin James as Frankenstein, to Cee-Lo Green as The Mummy, all having a shining moment in the movie. Yes, even one of those involves a fart gag, but it’s a PG kid’s movie so it can be forgiven by everything else.
Since the director of the film had prior experience with cartoons, it comes as no surprise to say that the animation in 'Hotel Transylvania' is nothing short of stellar. Even in 3D, the animation is a true feast to the eyes, and it looked so damn beautiful. It just had such a distinct look to it, where you could tell it was both Sony Animation and a design from the director of the movie, which, if you stay during the credits, are treated to great hand drawn animation by Tartakovsky himself. Even if you don't enjoy the film, you can't deny that the animation and the 3D were really taken care of. As a director, Tartakovsky really knows how to handle certain situations and direct things in such a matter where, while mostly played to make kids laugh, many of the visual jokes work well. I would love to see this guy do more animated films, because he surely does have a knack for good animated projects.
Halloween is the time of year where kids dress up as their favorite characters, and most of them are modern icons. 'Hotel Transylvania' is the type of film that you'd want your kids to watch so, not only will they learn more about classic movie monsters, but will also make them want to be Dracula or Frankenstein. The film also happens to be sweet, funny, and a visual treat. While the script goes for the usual kid film clichés often, that is saved from the delivery of certain jokes and the spectacular voice work by everyone, especially Adam Sandler. Gosh, never thought I'd say that about Sandler in my life. If the family is looking for a fun Halloween movie to take the kids to, and think that 'Frankenweenie' looks too creepy for the young ones, then you might want to book a room into the enjoyable 'Hotel Transylvania.'
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