Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky Screenplay by: Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel Written by: Todd Durham, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman Original Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh
Premise: In 1895, in an attempt to make sure his daughter would grow up safe, Dracula built a hidden castle where monsters could come and stay and not worry about being attacked by humans. In 2012, as his daughter's 118th birthday approaches, Dracula is desperate to curve her stubborn desire to see the world beyond their safe haven. He has a plan, and it miraculously succeeds, until his worst nightmare becomes a reality - a human has found the hotel. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: A lot of comedic talent was brought in for the voice acting in the film and it worked fabulously. Adam Sandler does a great job as Dracula, the over protective father and still grieving widower. Mr. Sandler brings just enough of an accent that his portrayal fits the standard Dracula mold, but not overly so. He got it just right. Andy Samberg is a fun, happy, Johnny. And Selena Gomez was incredibly sweet as Mavis.
The side actors brought most of the levity to the film and you can tell they had a lot of fun doing it. They all did a wonderful job. The little old Gremlin lady was hilarious.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: The Sony Animation Studios continue to put out some fun stuff for the whole family to enjoy. "Hotel Transylvani" is also available in 3D, and that always works well with animated films. All the signature parts of the old black and white monster movies are in the movie, then are taken one step further, as if all the monsters of old are reaching their later years - they've mellowed, married, had children, and have been saddled with the same types of problems normal families have. Some of these situations are very subtle, but also hilarious because of it. The shot of the wolfman in bed with his wife said it all.
The setting had a good, creepy vibe, very reminiscent of the real Dracula's Castle in Transylvania. And the audience gets to see a lot of it - from the giant ballroom, to the roof, to an underground maze, and more. The food served here will not make you hungry, so some of the gross factor kids love is present, but not enough to bother the parents. Seeing the problems of running a hotel from the eyes of the proprietor was fun as well. Dracula does have a definite flare, even when only dealing with clogged toilets.
There were several beautiful spanning shots. And a truly lovely sunrise during one part of the film. All the settings were excellent.
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Though the main theme is emotional - an overprotective parent and his independence seeking child at odds - there is also a lot of humor woven throughout the film. My husband was laughing out long almost continuously.
The movie has a lot of old monster movie and parenting/marriage jokes as part of the story, so there's a lot of fodder for the parents to enjoy. The kids will totally love the monsters, especially the wolfman's kids. Mayhem abounds to keep everyone's attention glued to the screen.
Conclusion: A fun, spooky, and rather poignant film that will be enjoyed by the whole family. If you're a fan of the old black and white monster movies, you'll find plenty to love here.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again!)