Hotel Transylvania – film review

Theatrical teaser poster for "Hotel Transylvania".
Theatrical teaser poster for “Hotel Transylvania”.
Hotel Transylvania is a comedic animated film which can be enjoyed by children of all ages. It’s directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, mostly known for directing animated television series aimed at the fairly young, and features the voices of Adam Sandler as Dracula, Selena Gomez as his daughter, Mavis, and many other well known actors.

Mavis is turning 118, and is therefore about to become an adult in the world of vampires. Dracula is feeling a lot of stress and pressure as he plans the big party while simultaneously trying to dissuade his daughter from going out into the world by telling her how scary humans are (they killed her mother, after all).

After Mavis’ mother was killed, Dracula built the Hotel Transylvania as a safe haven for monsters, and he’s done everything he can to keep humans from finding the place. Free-spirited Jonathan (voiced by Andy Samberg) stumbles across the castle after following some monsters into a secret tunnel, and Dracula spends most of the movie trying to hide the fact that Jonathan is human in order to prevent all his monster friends from leaving the hotel. Unfortunately for Dracula, Mavis and Jonathan “zinged” when they first met, so Dracula has the added difficulty of trying to keep the two apart as they both try to figure out this new feeling they have.

While the plot is fairly predictable, I really enjoyed this film. The characters are interesting, and I loved how they incorporated almost all of the classic monsters into the film as normal, everyday “people” just trying to make their ways in a world which has been hostile to them for centuries. I also loved the unique takes on the monsters: using witches as housekeeping (they are flying around on brooms, after all), Quasimodo as the sinister hotel chef (complete with his evil and highly intelligent rat, Esmerelda), zombies as bellhops and front desk clerks. These guys had real fun making this film.

I loved the character designs and the art style used in this film. I even picked up The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania, which has over 400 illustrations and concept art designs created for the film, as well as some interviews and commentary by Tartakovsky and others from the crew of the film. It’s a great book if you like the style of the film.

I really liked the music in the film, as well, and it really surprised me when I found out the only part of the soundtrack released was a single song: “Problem“, by Becky G. It’s a good song, but I really wanted to own the soundtrack as the music throughout the film really caught my fancy.

Hotel Transylvania was a really fun film, and I recommend it to monster movie fans everywhere. For fans of the old classics, there is plenty here to keep you busy for days trying to catch everything the filmmakers included. Even most younger kids will enjoy it a lot since this is more of a comedy than horror.

Release Date: September 8, 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 95%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 1 (several scatological jokes scattered throughout)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (mild innuendo, flirting)
Violence: 1 (some comic fantasy violence, Dracula makes a very scary face a few times)

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