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Hotel Transylvania is charming and fun, but could use a little tightening up

Updated on February 17, 2013

Okay, I know I'm a little late to the game with this review, but ... I'm sorry. I must have misplaced my care-about-it.

Anyway, Hotel Transylvania is an interesting idea with some creative visuals and nice use of 3D. Good fun for the whole family.

But first, the story

Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) is a single dad, raising daughter Mavis (young voice by Sadie Sandler, older voice by Selena Gomez). He wants to protect Mavis from the horrors of the human world. And to provide a safe haven for all monster kind, he constructs a large castle with tons of rooms and calls it "Hotel for Dogs".

Wait, sorry. I forgot which movie I was reviewing there for a moment.

Anyway, on the eve of Mavis' 118th birthday, monster friends come from all over to the hotel to celebrate. But mostly, Mavis is dying to be allowed to get out and see the human world. To her surprise, her father lets her leave the castle and visit a nearby town. The experience is very much not like she wanted, and she comes home sadly disappointed.

Meanwhile, somehow human hipster hiker Jonathan (Andy Samberg) finds his way to the castle. Obviously he starts out believing it's a giant costume party, but what kind of fun is that for an entire movie?

Dracula is the first and only one to realize Jonathan doesn't fit in, and he tries to get him on his way, but through the magic of movie mayhem, obviously he sticks around, claiming to be Jonnystein, here to help Dracula plan the party.

"Surprisingly", people take to him very easily, and he soon breathes real life into the very ordered and boring festivities that Dracula had planned.

Dot dot dot

The movie has tons and tons of high profile voices throughout. There's Kevin James as Frankenstein ('s monster!) and Fran Drescher as his wife. Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon as the werewolf couple with a fully stocked litter. David Spade as the invisible man, CeeeLo Green as the Mummy, Jon Lovitz as chef Quasimodo.

Lots of people with plenty of humor chops.

Which is why it's a little frustrating how often the humor just seemed to fall a little short. There are some real laughs in the movie. It's funny. But at times it just felt like it was supposed to be funnier than it was ending up. The timing may be off, or the delivery a bit wrong. Or maybe I was just a bit tired that day. But some of the jokes didn't seem to land for me as much as I'd have liked.

The movie was still funny and enjoyable. It could just use a little bit of tightening up.

Visually, this one's great. Very fun visuals and nice use of 3D if you'd like to try that out. The character design has lots of quirk and charm and there are some fun action sequences.

And the story is nicely developed too. We get to know the characters well (in particular, Jonathan, Mavis and Dracula) and the characters are fun.

But like so many kid movies out there, it would appear that the lesson to be learned here is "Kids are right. Grownups are overprotective. Just let the kids do whatever they want and why do we even need parents?" That's a bit of an overstatement of the issue, but that kind of moral is so heavily prevalent in kid movies that it kind of stands out.

But overall I like this one and could see myself buying the 3D Blueray.

But what do you think?

3 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Hotel Transylvania

For me, I give this one a 7 / 10.

Hotel Transylvania is rated PG for a few moments of mildly rude humor, and a couple slightly scary images. (I mean, 98% of the characters are monsters, so what do you expect?)


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