This past Sunday, I called in the rainy day option and took the kids to see Hotel Transylvania.
Here’s the capsule review:
Did the kids like it? Yes. There was decent slapstick, with no real violence or scary shocks.
On the plus side, it was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky with music by Mark Mothersbaugh, whom I know from DEVO and whom my kids know from Yo Gabba Gabba.
On the negative, despite what GeekDad thought, I couldn’t get beyond the fact that it was Adam Sandler doing a Bela Lugosi impression throughout. Sorry. The essential Sandlerness was reinforced by the presence of his comic cronies David Spade and Kevin James.
I think my enjoyment of the flick was colored by two unfavorable comparisons. First, a DVD preview of Arthur Christmas, which was a fantastic Aardman production from last year, served to remind me how good computer-animated films Not Made by Pixar can be. (I enjoyed their recent Pirates! movie–a clay stop-motion affair–more than my kids did, despite their love of Shaun the Sheep.) Hotel Transylvania wasn’t poorly animated, by any means, but it just didn’t sell itself as anything special. It was serviceable and not awful, and that’s the best I can think to say of it.
Second, the animated end credits–done in “traditional” (I was going to say non-computer, but it was likely done on computer somehow) style–served to remind me how masterful Tartakovsky works traditional animation on TV.
That aside, it was a nice effort, story-wise. After the death of his wife by angry mob (which we are shown briefly in flashback-form), Dracula builds a hotel refuge for monsters where he raises his daughter. Now, on her 118th birthday, she wants to get out and see the world, but her goofy old man is a mite overprotective. Enter a young American backpacker Dude and, oh boy, movie happens. There are some fun sequences and all the monsters are cute. Dracula is non-threatening (they even go out of their way to tell how he drinks blood substitute…yet for some reason still eats mice), despite the fact that all of his servants are reanimated corpses. Most of the goodwill generated by the movie is taken back by a gratuitous song at the end that, while not as awful as when everyone sings a pop tune at the end of a Shrek flick, uses much too much autotuning to be enjoyable.