Review: 'On paper I should absolutely LOVE Hotel Transylvania'
So... when I found out my wife Katy was pregnant with our first child I was VERY excited about two things: toys and cartoons. Yes, yes I was also looking forward to the fulfillment of raising a family and the joy and love that comes with it. But having a kid or two in the house meant I had a real excuse to watch cartoons again and buy toys. 'Yes Katy, I know our daughter is two but she NEEDS the new Lego Millennium Falcon.'
Cartoons, sorry 'animated series & films' have come along way since my Scooby Doo and Tom & Jerry days. These days they truly are an experience to share together with your kids. They’re smarter, slicker, well written, funny on many levels and emotionally moving. Though it seems that the animation team at Sony Pictures didn’t get that memo.
On paper I should absolutely LOVE Hotel Transylvania. I’m a massive fan of director Genndy Tartakovsky’s previous work on the Cartoon Network - Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack. I love the classic cult monsters. I’m a fan of Adam Sandler (well, BEFORE he started wearing drag in every movie) and considering the strong father/daughter theme in the film that I can relate to - I should be all over this. But unfortunately, other than the 3-D rendering, this movie falls flat.
Hotel Transylvania is a LAVISH hotel built by Dracula (Adam Sandler) where all the monsters can stay and make merry, protected from those horrible humans which have persecuted them for so long. Not only is The Count a busy hotelier but he’s a also a doting single father whose daughter (Selena Gomez) has hit 118 years old - ready to venture out in the big, bad world. Not if dad can help it. And not before the dark one throws an all out party with the whole family - Frankenstein (Kevin James) ,The Invisible Man (David Spade), The Werewolf (Steve Buscemi), The Mummy (Ceelo Green) and other creatures of the night. But when a dopey but likeable human, a backpacking hippie voiced by Andy Samberg, stumbles upon the hotel, chaos and, sadly, not much comedy ensues.
There’s an (overly) recurring joke in the movie about how Dracula speaks 'I do NOT say ‘blah, blah, blah’!' Conveniently this also describes the main ingredients of the film.
Story? Blah. The over protective dad who needs to learn to let go has been done many a time and this brings nothing new to it. Musical Numbers? Blah. Every song in it goes for the auto-tune overkill that seems like it’s trying too hard to be hip. Humour? Again, blah. Look, I know this movie isn’t pitched at my age but I think kids are a lot smarter than the fart jokes & 'kiddie humour that Hotel T throws at you. I only properly laughed out loud twice - at a Twilight reference and at the Werewolf encountering some sheep. Both instances occur towards the end of the movie. Way too late to save it.
Look, I’m not saying your kids (seven - ten) won’t enjoy this, because they probably will. The visuals are great and the pace keeps it humming along nicely. Just don’t expect the multi-layered experience that you get from movies like Toy Story, Puss in Boots, The Incredibles and Shrek. As a parent you’ll be strictly on chaperone duty rather than part of the fun with your child.
Hotel Transylvania hits UK cinemas Friday October 12th