These days all major studios have an animation department that competes in the realm of animated films. While Disney/Pixar dominates the animated film scene, what about the other studios that are bringing different types of animated films to the table? Not everyone wants to see the same Disney boilerplate template over and over again; they want some variety. Some studios have made it a point to push the boundaries of a PG rated animated film, poking fun at Disney classics and children’s tales. Sony Pictures Animation does not go that far, but they certainly have taken their films in another direction. Hotel Transylvania is a film that may have the right recipe for box office success.
Dracula (Adam Sandler – Grown Ups, Just Go With It) owns and operates a lavish hotel deep in the woods surrounded by acres of haunted forest, thereby keeping all humans away. The hotel is a sanctuary for all monsters to escape the pressures of everyday life, with no worries of running into any humans. Dracula goes into overprotective mode when a human boy discovers the hotel and walks through the front door. To make matters worse, he ends up falling for his daughter. Adam Sandler needs no introduction and was an excellent choice for his role as Dracula. He brings a sense of humor that a good script alone cannot convey. His role as Dracula more than makes up for his last foray into animated film.
The caliber of supporting cast talent in this movie is simply incredible. There are so many big name stars in the film it is impossible to cover them all. So, we will just cover the performances that seem to make the largest impact on the film; there were a lot of them. Andy Samberg (The Watch, That’s My Boy) voices Jonathan, the human that finds his way into the hotel. Andy makes his character so gullible, yet likable it really draws you into his performance. Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place, Monte Carlo) as Mavis, Dracula’s daughter, does an incredible job as well. Mavis has a large role in the film and Selena does her part to help carry the film. Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Boardwalk Empire) voices Wayne, a tired Wolf with a dozen pups always garnering his attention. Most fathers can relate to his plight in the film, but Steve takes it to the next level making it down right funny.
David Spade (Tommy Boy, Rules of Engagement) as Griffin (the invisible man) rounds out the cast nicely. David does an incredible job with his voice role considering the only thing you see of the invisible man are his glasses on screen. CeeLo Green (The Voice, Kick-Ass) as Murray the mummy is just fantastic. He brings his natural wit and charm to the role, making you laugh and simply enjoy the moment. Luenell (That’s My Boy, Think Like a Man) plays one of the shrunken heads. For only having a small part, Luenell really gets into her role. She put a lot of heart and comedy into what did not even amount to five minutes of screen time. Chris Parnell (Anchorman, 21 Jump Street) as the voice of Fly, adds a nice touch to the film. There were so many other characters in this film, but Chris deserves to be mentioned among those making an impact on the film. His role was even smaller than that of Luenell, but it was staged in such a way that it was utterly hilarious.
This hilarious spoof on all things monsters was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls). Genndy has a resume a mile long starting with animation, ending with producer and includes every job in between. Genndy was a logical choice for directing this film and his love of animation is evident in the final product. The characters all have that unique Sony Pictures Animation style facial structure and large, glassy eyes. The film is endearing for children of all ages, as well as adults. Genndy did a wonderful job directing what will undoubtedly be a box office success.
The screenplay was written by Peter Baynham (Arthur, Arthur Christmas) and Robert Smigel (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Saturday Night Live). Peter was a logical choice being one of the writers of Arthur Christmas, which was an incredible film. Arthur Christmas had a warmth and depth that really shined through all of the hilarious moments. Those same characteristics were present in this film as well. With Adam Sandler being an executive producer on this project it makes sense that Robert was tapped on the shoulder for this project as well. Robert has a resume filled with comedy skits from Saturday Night Live to Comedy Central. Both Peter and Robert complimented each other well and we can only hope to see more great things from these two gentlemen in the future.
Hotel Transylvania is a laugh-out-loud comedy that keeps your attention the entire time. The runtime is a brisk 91 minutes, allowing the movie to hold the shortest of attention spans. Even short movies sometimes sag in the middle. Hotel Transylvania does not suffer such ill fate. It never slows down long enough for that to happen. The film moves so quickly from scene to scene that you remain engaged the entire time. Even when the pace drops from a sprint to a jog, you are never left wanting for more. There are obvious parenting undertones and other cultural acceptance overtones that allow you to relate to the film. Kids will enjoy the film because it is quite funny. Adults will appreciate it for the same reasons, but there is plenty of adult humor that fused with physical comedy garnering laughs from adults and children at the same time for different reasons. If you have any reservations about seeing this film, rest assured you will more than likely enjoy Hotel Transylvania.
If you’ve seen the movie already, please share your thoughts below. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it…then come back and talk about it.