Hotel Transylvania


Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Hotel Transylvania
"The film is a bit of a mixed up mess of slapstick, quickfire jokes and sub-teen romantic comedy with musical and dance numbers."

In Hotel Transylvania most people will find something to love and something to hate. Love and hate are too strong, like and dislike are more like it. The film is a bit of a mixed up mess of slapstick, quickfire jokes and sub-teen romantic comedy with musical and dance numbers. Its trying to do too many things and as a result doesn't do any of them particularly well. It doesn't do any of them particularly badly either.

After the death of his wife at the hands of evil pitchfork and torch wielding humans Dracula (Adam Sandler) decides to set up a place where monsters can go and be themselves, a place where they don't have to hide. So hidden from humans behind scary graveyards, dark forests and jagged peaks the Hotel Transylvania is erected. It is here in his five star hotel complete with zombie bell boys and hunchback cooks that Dracula brings up his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). What kind of a name is that for a vampire? Dracula is doting but overprotective father. He has kept his daughter safe from the dangers of the outside world and the violent intolerant humans for 118 years. On her 118th birthday Dracula holds a party with all his monster friends invited but there is also an uninvited guest, a young human backpacker called Jonathan (Andy Samberg). This is where slapstick and romance collide.

Copy picture

The hodgepodge of ideas crash into each other in a stream of 15 second takes. Visual gags, slapstick, jokes and elements of the actual story all could have worked if they had been allowed a little more time to play with the semiotics of monster movies, teen romance or family vacations. The visual humour generally works well and there are allusions which will make you smile. The animation's cartoon like style keeps certain things like flaming zombies from frightening small children. It can be schmaltzy, however, to the point of being off-putting. Sometimes the script is genuinely witty and well observed but it will leave younger children cold. The musical numbers and Jonathan's dialogue will leave any child from the age of about ten up cringing in their seat.

There is no time in the first half of the film for characters beyond Dracula and Mavis to be developed. In the second half where the story thankfully starts to run out of steam, some of the others are fleshed out (excepting skeletons of course). The slowing at the end may leave anyone who was enjoing the quickfire nature of the film disapointed.

Ultimatly the frenetic pace and confusion over what the movie is supposed to be overshadow the good points in Hotel Transylvania.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2012
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Hotel Transylvania packshot
Dracula is holding a birthday party for his daughter at the hotel retreat for monsters that he runs, but doesn't count on a mortal gatecrasher taking a shine to her.
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Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Writer: Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi

Year: 2012

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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