Title: Hotel Transylvania

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

If you would prefer a 3D animated film that has the allure of walking through a haunted house yet doesn’t have the gumption to stimulate the mind in the slightest – or is just simplistic enough for younger audiences to follow (admirable) – Hotel Transylvania is an ideal 91 minute excursion.

As for everyone else who enjoys the atmosphere of the Halloween holiday, and wants to receive an entertaining mental charge – and still have wholesome, and clever, fun – go see ParaNorman.

Here’s how mind-numbing the experience is for HT: The cardboard-like IMDb synopsis – which is usually basic and requires a decent amount of elaboration by reviewers/critics – is dead on. So that being said, why reach for something that is not there? Ladies and gents, the official synopsis via IMDb.com:

-Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy (voiced by Andy Samberg) discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.

The only additions that could be added, is that all the classic monsters show up as guests to this castle hideaway. And the reason Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) chooses isolation, is because he wanted a place for all his monster friends not to worry about hiding from the dastardly humans. And to protect his curious daughter, Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) from the horrors he experienced when his wife passed away.

It appears that this is geared toward easy-to-please toddlers but that’s no excuse. Tons of animations, such as the above referenced ParaNorman, have been able to enact building-block material all while seamlessly blending in clever humor. Transylvania does none of this, despite having a worthy cast who has proven to be assets in voice-over work (David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, John Lovitz, etc.).

Physically speaking, the majority of the flick takes place in the enormous castle. The screenplay does a decent job taking the audience through the intricacies of the gothic fortress by always showcasing a new room or passage way for the characters to interact in, all while subtly keeping in mind their literary traits. In other words, an expensive virtual tour. But the problem that arises is the script left so much on the table and it’s tortuously obvious! Plus, the key storyline/theme is terribly recycled. Sure future and/or upcoming generations should be exposed to these types of themes, but that’s why home video and movie channels were invented so you can hunt down past cinematic flicks that do this my friends.

Overall, much like the Frankenstein monster (voiced by Kevin James – yawn), people with half a functioning brain will be bored to…wait for it…death. The animated sets do act as a life-line and are somewhat engaging (no thanks to the 3D by the way). Still, this seems as if the filmmakers were using a borderline mediocre rough draft rather than a polished final script when shooting this. More fun could have easily been had. This is more of a good looking cash-grab trick (or hooker) than an inspiring treat (relationship with feelings).

Technical: B

Story: F

Acting: C

Overall: D

Hotel Transylvania
A generic monster mash.

By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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