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Hotel Transylvania

I have to admit that when my daughter picked up this CGI kid-flick I had mixed feelings about watching it.  On one hand it was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky of Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Lab fame, but on the other the lead role was voiced by my arch-nemesis – that Satan-spawned peddler of the worst kind of schmaltzy shit-masquerading-as-cinema,  Adam Sandler.  Thankfully the influence of the former is much more prevalent than the latter.  Tartakovsky’s quirky animation style is a joy to watch while Sandler is practically unrecognizable as a scenery-chewing, old-fashioned,  stereotypical Count Dracula.  The plot, such as it is, concerns Dracula’s attempts to provide a safe haven where his fellow monsters (and especially his teen-age looking daughter) can escape the evil  humans that terrorize them with pitchforks and flaming brands.  Everything is going swimmingly until the safe haven is uncovered by a zany smart-phone wielding backpacker by the name of Jonathan, voiced by Andy Samberg.  Jonathan hits it off with  the vampire daughter and manages to become bosom buddies with the other monsters like Frankenstein et al.  And so begins a rather predictable and by the numbers winning-over of the suspicious and isolationist Dracula.

Hotel Transylvania has some stiff competition in the ‘Kids Movies That Can be Enjoyed by Adults Category,’ when you consider classics like Megamind, How To Train Your Dragon, Wreck-it Ralph and Despicable Me. It does have some good  Hammer Horror movie type gags to supplement the slap stick humor, but it’s nowhere near as sharp as the others I’ve mentioned.  The film tries a bit to hard in the sentimentality stakes and ends up being a bit too sappy in places, and the pacing is a bit hit and miss as well.  I can’t help but think a slightly more merciless editor could have made a big difference here.  The voice cast (including a Wolfman and a Mummy voiced by Steve Buscemi and Cee Lo Green respectively) do a decent job and everything looks great, but the whole thing just doesn’t hang together especially well.

Overall, there are many worse films you could pick to watch with your kids, but there are plenty better ones as well.  I imagine it would be a bit hit  you’re a massive fan of Tartakovsky’s work or Universal Horror films but otherwise I’d imagine most people would find it pretty much average.

The Ratings Kraken lazily raises six of its ten hideous tentacles in salute to Hotel Transylvania.

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