Someone, somewhere in the depths of Hollywood obviously thought that gothic kids films were a cash cow, a bizarre niche genre that is certainly getting milked dry this year. There’s Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie by Tim Burton who’s possibly to blame for the whole damn phenomenon. Perhaps in a rushed attempt to be the first cab out of the rank, Hotel Transylvania directed by Genndy Tartavsky is a film completely drained of any original ideas, wit, charm or… any general likable trait. Who would have thought it would be such a dud with the voice talent of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Selena Gomez right?
The titular Hotel Transylvania is a holiday resort for all monsters to feel safe away from the fearful and aggressive human beings, and run by Dracula (Adam Sandler) whose only other permanent resident is Mavis (Selena Gomez), his daughter. As Mavis’ 118th birthday, Dracula plans both a huge party and a way to make sure she never ventures out into the real world or god forbid, meet a human. Guests of the hotel include a predictable motley crew of Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, wolves, Mummies and other stock standard creatures where the jokes surrounding them are the most obvious possible. Frankenstein’s monster gets assembled the wrong way! Hilarious! It’s not bad to use recognisable characters as long as the familiarity is used for a purpose, but here it seems to just have been the easy way out.
As can be guessed from the opening seconds of a film that promise that “no human will ever find Hotel Transylvania”, shock horror, a human finds Hotel Transylvania. Jonathan (Andy Samberg) is a care free back packer who stumbles upon the castle and ends up showing the monsters a thing or two about being wild and carefree! How crazy! If we didn’t want to king hit him in the face every time he’s on screen, he might’ve actually provided some interesting conflict. But then again the lazy animation of all the characters ensures they have their own unintentionally creepy faces that you wanna slap. The single entertaining character is the over drawn Wolf with dozens of kids voiced by Steve Buscemi who brings the best laughs.
Far too predictable and juvenile for adults to enjoy, but filled with way too many references and dull images to keep the little ones engaged, Hotel Transylvania may find difficulty finding any satisfied customers. And surely no one enjoys the stupid trend of so many animated films of late that feature the characters rocking out to a current pop song as a finale? Here’s hoping the this kiddie gothic trend isn’t also a terrible one.
Hotel Transylvania was released in Australia on September 20th
Director: Genndy Tartavsky
Cast: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher