Review: 'Hotel Transylvania'
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Friday, September 28, 2012
9/28/12 at 5:42 AM
Can't we all just get along?
There's probably a little monster inside of all of us, so just because someone looks different than we do (bolts in the neck) or talks different than we do (Transylvania accent), is it necessary to persecute these people or chase them with pitchforks?
That's the multicultural moral to the story of "Hotel Transylvania," a 3-D animated monster movie comedy for the little ones that is not too spooky, often sweet-natured and far too manic.
If you like your kids' movies bouncing off the auditorium walls, this is the flick for you.
Proving that it's better to hear Adam Sandler than to see him, he adopts a Bela Lugosi-like voice to portray an overprotective-dad version of Dracula, and he seems sort of fun again.
Perhaps some of that was seeing his character wearing a cape; it's impossible to not smile thinking of Sandler in Operaman mode from 20 years ago in "Saturday Night Live" and remember better times.
This is the comedy star's latest opportunity to make a movie with his pals, as Kevin James (Frankenstein), David Spade (The Invisible Man), Jon Lovitz (Quasimodo) and more give voice to monsters of classic literature and films.
The idea is that Dracula runs a hotel for these kindred spirits, a place where they can congregate and feel safe from the outside world's monster-bashing.
It's also a sanctuary where he keeps Mavis, his vampire daughter (age 118), locked away from humans who Drac fears could harm the birthday girl, played by Selena Gomez as your standard Disney Channel teen with an attitude.
So when a mountain-climbing dude (Andy Samberg, in a controlled mania of a vocal performance that works well.) checks in at the hotel and eyes Mavis, are Dracula's nightmares about to come true? Or is it time to cut the cape-strings and allow his daughter some freedom?
The movie is all concept and too little creativity, as the creatures are introduced in the hotel lobby and a barrage of in-jokes commence based on their lore (Frankenstein afraid of fire.) or their portrayer. (Fran Drescher's she-monster complains, in that nasal noise that is her voice, about how loud humans are.)
"Hotel Transylvania" is one fleeting sight gag after another, made for a low-attention-span audience and rarely taking a moment to breathe and perhaps allow the dad-and-daughter relationship to mean much.
The gags fly by so fast and furious that it can be both amusing and annoying at the same time.
Tiny tykes will be the audience for "Hotel Transylvania" (even my 7-year-old, intrigued by nonstop commercials for the picture, deemed it "just OK" afterward, a real indictment from her).
The only other factor to know going in is that the animation is solid from Sony, similar to their productions like "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
But there is no reason to see "Hotel Transylvania" in 3-D. We found that you can view much of the movie without the funny glasses and notice no difference in dimensions. Stop at 2-D, which will somewhat ease the pain in your wallet.
voices of Adam Sandler,
Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg,
Kevin James, Steve Buscemi
(3-D) AMC Southroads
20, Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark Broken Arrow,
Starworld 20, Owasso, Sand
Springs (2-D) RiverWalk, Eton
Square, Moviestar Cinema
1 hour, 31 minutes
PG (some rude humor,
action and scary images)
(on a scale of zero
to four stars)
Original Print Headline: 'Hotel' not too spooky, a little manic
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
Adam Sandler provides the voice of Dracula in "Hotel Transylvania." Sony Pictures Animation / Associated Press
Adam Sandler plays Dracula (left), an overprotective dad, and Andy Samberg voices a kid trying to fit in as one of the monsters in "Hotel Transylvania." Sony Pictures Animation/Associated Press