Sandwiched between two of the years other big animated films in Paranorman and Frankenweenie comes the Adam Sandler-voice starring Hotel Transylvania. Much like the two excellent films around it, Hotel Transylvania takes horror mythology and turns it into a dramatic comedy for kids. Set within the eponymous establishment, Hotel Transylvania follows owner Dracula (Sandler) who has setup a five star getaway for monsters. Famous horror monsters include Frankenstein’s Monster (Kevin James), Wayne Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade).
When Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) turns 118 years old, she wants to go and explore the world. Fearful of his daughter’s safety, he sets up an elaborate rouse to send her to a local town, so that she can learn first-hand how monsters are treated. However, this backfires when ordinary boy Jonathan (Andy Samberg) follows her back to Hotel Transylvania, forcing Dracula to hide him from the patrons rather than risk upsetting them.
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Labrotory) he represents the sixth person to try and turn Hotel Transylvania into something workable. In many ways he succeeds, although as both Paranorman and Frankenweenie have shown, the Halloween Horror genre that’s aimed at kids is ripe for satire, parody and more laughs than this delivers. Comfortably the least impressive of the three in terms of style, execution and presentation, there are at least a few chuckles along the way.
Adam Sandler, one of the most popular comic actors of all time, dips into a lowest common denominator style of joke-telling, with obvious and clichÃ©d jokes being the meat of each of his high-concept films. Unlike something like Jack and Jill however, Hotel Transylvania has the charm of a reasonably novel idea about a hotel for monsters that toys with horror tropes. However, as is often the case with the better scripts he has worked on, it never quite pushes that little step further to enter truly recommendable territory.
There are sly nods to past films and the modern vampires shown in films like Twilight, but in the end Hotel Transylvania is forgettable, not nearly funny enough and hampered by its positioning between the excellent Paranorman and Frankenweenie, which both have more invention in their opening 10 minutes than Hotel Transylvania has in its entire running length. Still considering Sandler’s previous run of films it is at least a bearable family comedy and it looks quite nice.