Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (voice of Adam Sandler) lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. It's a special weekend and Dracula has invited some of his best friends - Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his wife, the Mummy (Cee-Lo Green), the Invisible Man (David Spade), Quasimodo (John Lovitz) the Werewolf family, and many more - to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis' (Selena Gomez) 118th birthday. For ole' Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem - but everything could change for the overprotective dad when one ordinary human guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's us humans who are the monsters in this flipped world, which only goes to show - once more - how everything is relative. The comedic premise stands up well, as the loving but controlling father, Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) tries to protect his little 118 year old girl Mavis (Selena Gomez), whose birthday party is a lavish affair.
There isn't much to the story: a backpacking human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the isolated Dracula resort just as the part gets into full swing and falls for the lovely Mavis, who has been desperate (you can't say 'dying' since she's an immortal vampire) to get a look at the outside world. But Dracula dad has been at pains to paint the human world as a scary place, full of dangers.
The screenplay is a supermarket of ideas that have been bounced off the flipped world concept, and it races along at the speed of a flying bat. There is so much in it it's hard to keep up, and while some of the comedy is kids' stuff, there is a smattering of satirical humour. And of course, as many childish gags about smells and vomit as possible. Kids will get a lot more out of this film than adults - although I did hear a lot of amusement from the adults at the preview screening.
The voice cast does an outstanding job, from Sandler to Gomez to Samberg, and there are many others who excel. But the standout for me is Steve Buscemi as Wayne the werewolf, who has one delicious scene when the vanload of monsters racing to reach the airport (to try and stop Jonathan taking off and leaving Mavis behind all heartbroken) is forced to stop by a flock of sheep in the winding mountain road. The solution he quickly implements is blackly hilarious as Buscemi deadpans his way through it.
So what we have here is an animated, cross-species creature feature romantic comedy - for 10 - 14 year olds.
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HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (PG)
VOICES: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Cee-Lo Green, David Spade, John Lovitz, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon
PRODUCER: Michelle Murdocca
DIRECTOR: Genndy Tartakovsky
SCRIPT: Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel
EDITOR: Catherine Apple
MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcelo Vignani
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 20, 2012