This is going to be a very easy review for me to blow through simply because both the monster horror fan AND the kid in me had an absolute ghoulishly good time with this one. Of course I’m referring to the 3-D computer animated comedy from Sony Pictures Animation, Hotel Transylvania, hitting theaters this Friday, September 28th. The feature, helmed by Samurai Jack’s creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, features the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Jon Lovitz, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon and David Spade. I wonder how many more movies the “Dream Team” of Adam, Kevin and David will do together? But nonetheless, like 2010’s Grown Ups, the chemistry mixed monstrously well here. So let’s take a closer look under the microscope and find out why I feel the way I do.
I was, however, very surprised to learn that Hotel Transylvania has essentially been in development since 2006 and went through the hands of five different directors before Tartakovsky took on his feature directorial debut here where the infamous Dracula (Sandler) is the owner and creator of Hotel Transylvania, a resort for all the monsters of the world to get away from everything human. Why? Because da humans are BAD! Duh. Anyway, it’s Dracula’s daughter, Mavis (Gomez), 118th birthday and you don’t celebrate those too often now, do you? So the birthday bash invites are sent out and the attendees include famous monsters like Frankenstein (James) and his wife (Drescher), the Mummy (Green), the Wolfman (Buscemi), the Invisible Man (Spade), Bigfoot, the Blob and so many more easter eggs to delight the legendary horror fans of any age. And you know who I’m talking about…ADULTS.
BUT…conflict arises when Hotel Transylvania is unexpectedly visited by a HUMAN, a young carefree traveler named Jonathan (Samberg). Not only is it a problem that he’s a human, and Dracula must cover that up, but also the guests love the disguised lad. Instead of the same old, Jonathan brings the fun. The monsters come to life. And more importantly, and totally unintentionally, Jonathan captures Mavis’ affection. She falls hard for the distant cousin of Frankenstein, Dracula’s disguise for him…aka Johnny Stein. Ha! And this is why I L-O-V-E this film. Yes, I am a sap for romantic comedies, but there’s so much more. As a horror fan, I was absolutely delighted to see every onscreen film legend represented and comically recreated while making fun of each one’s trademarks, quirks, weaknesses and even genial family members. Hey! Monsters can have families too. But underneath it all, this is a love story. No more. No less. It’s a classic tale of a father, Dracula in this case, who lost his wife and will do anything to protect Daddy’s little girl, Mavis. He has to learn to let go. The hard part is…the letting go part. And that’s where Act 2 of the screenplay truly shines…the fun and games. And I, for one, had F-U-N with this one, despite the low critic scores I’m seeing out there currently. But hey, I’m the law around here. No one’s opinion matters except mine.
So parents. Listen up. It’s Halloween season. It’s been Halloween season since my birthday, August 31st. Take your kids to see this. I sat next to a five year old at the press screening. I thought oh great. Here we go. This kid is going to be terrified out of her wits and cry every waking moment of the feature’s runtime. This is going to suck. BUT much to my surprise, she was just as enamored by this one as I was. Her father was cracking up repeatedly at all the much appreciated humor the film brings. Despite this one’s PG-rating, there’s enough nods to the horror genre and adult related jokes to keep us older ones entertained and engaged throughout just like an all-star Pixar movie would. And hey, they even poke fun at Twilight. So really, how bad can it be? I can’t wait to pick this one up on Blu-ray. For now, this one’s being filed in my Top 10 of the year and I may even go check it out again theatrically. And oh yeah…Happy Halloween!