Reviews - Major Releases


Film Review: Hotel Transylvania

A scarily unfunny animated monster movie that goes awry right off the bat.

Sept 27, 2012

-By Michael Rechtshaffen


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364278-Hotel_Transylvania_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The second feature in as many months to contain animated zombies (with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie lurking just around the corner), Hotel Transylvania checks in as an anemic example of pure concept over precious little content.

Despite the proven talents of first-time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky (“Dexter’s Laboratory”), writers Peter Baynham ( Arthur Christmas) and “SNL” vet Robert Smigel, and a voice cast headed by Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, the collaboration falls flat virtually from the get-go, serving up halfhearted sight gags that have a habit of landing with an ominous thud. The film could initially benefit from a monster marketing push from Sony, but it’s unlikely the “No Vacancy” sign will be lit for long.

Assuming an unsteady Transylvanian accent which, like his bat wings, tends to flit in and out of the picture, Sandler’s overprotective daddy Dracula is having trouble shielding his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) from outside elements on the eve of her 118th birthday. Determined to shut himself off from those elements after the death of his wife a century or so earlier at the hands of an angry mob, Dracula had constructed a refuge of an exclusive resort where he and his monstrous ilk could feel free to be themselves. But when a party crasher turns up in the form of Jonathan (Samberg), a slacker human backpacker who catches Mavis’ eye, the Count finds it increasingly difficult to keep her under his wing.
While director Tartakovsky’s retro-pop sensibilities served Cartoon Network well with the likes of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Samurai Jack,” and Hotel Transylvania has an undeniable visually zippy style, the ghost of a script by Baynham and Smigel provides him with very little of substance.

For the most part there’s just a lot of dashing about the hotel’s cavernous hallways as the assembled voice cast (also including Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and Cee Lo Green) attempts to lend some personality to the underdeveloped characters.

Ironically, the scattered enterprise exhibits signs of life when the characters leave the confines of the hotel, but that hint of something more arrives too late in the game.
And while those 3D glasses really bring nothing to the party, Mark Mothersbaugh’s lively score adds a ghoulish cool to the otherwise uninspired proceedings.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Hotel Transylvania

A scarily unfunny animated monster movie that goes awry right off the bat.

Sept 27, 2012

-By Michael Rechtshaffen


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364278-Hotel_Transylvania_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The second feature in as many months to contain animated zombies (with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie lurking just around the corner), Hotel Transylvania checks in as an anemic example of pure concept over precious little content.

Despite the proven talents of first-time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky (“Dexter’s Laboratory”), writers Peter Baynham (Arthur Christmas) and “SNL” vet Robert Smigel, and a voice cast headed by Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, the collaboration falls flat virtually from the get-go, serving up halfhearted sight gags that have a habit of landing with an ominous thud. The film could initially benefit from a monster marketing push from Sony, but it’s unlikely the “No Vacancy” sign will be lit for long.

Assuming an unsteady Transylvanian accent which, like his bat wings, tends to flit in and out of the picture, Sandler’s overprotective daddy Dracula is having trouble shielding his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) from outside elements on the eve of her 118th birthday. Determined to shut himself off from those elements after the death of his wife a century or so earlier at the hands of an angry mob, Dracula had constructed a refuge of an exclusive resort where he and his monstrous ilk could feel free to be themselves. But when a party crasher turns up in the form of Jonathan (Samberg), a slacker human backpacker who catches Mavis’ eye, the Count finds it increasingly difficult to keep her under his wing.
While director Tartakovsky’s retro-pop sensibilities served Cartoon Network well with the likes of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Samurai Jack,” and Hotel Transylvania has an undeniable visually zippy style, the ghost of a script by Baynham and Smigel provides him with very little of substance.

For the most part there’s just a lot of dashing about the hotel’s cavernous hallways as the assembled voice cast (also including Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and Cee Lo Green) attempts to lend some personality to the underdeveloped characters.

Ironically, the scattered enterprise exhibits signs of life when the characters leave the confines of the hotel, but that hint of something more arrives too late in the game.
And while those 3D glasses really bring nothing to the party, Mark Mothersbaugh’s lively score adds a ghoulish cool to the otherwise uninspired proceedings.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Major Releases

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Ouija
Film Review: Ouija

Skip the movie, play the game. On second thought, skip the game, too. More »

The Best of Me
Film Review: The Best of Me

Fans of Lifetime TV movies–and previous adaptations of books by Nicholas Sparks–will derive sentimental satisfaction from this handsomely mounted, ultimately hokey romance. For anyone else, it’s an all-too-typical adaptation of a book by Nicholas Sparks. More »

The Book of Life
Film Review: The Book of Life

This animated feature is tricky to get into, but soon enough becomes a colorful piñata spreading goodies hither and yon. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here