There’s not a lot to like about this movie. Hotel Transylvania reads like a movie that is supposed to appeal to adults while also entertaining children, but it fails to deliver at its core: jokes.
Dracula is the proprietor of a hotel that serves as a getaway for monsters who are tired of beign pursued by mobs of humans. Funny idea, but it’s confusing at the start. If the monsters are tired of being chased, where are they when they aren’t at Hotel Transylvania? Why didn’t Dracula just build a place where they could live forever? But setting that minor loophole aside, Dracula is supposed to be this misunderstood creature that only wanted to be left alone with his wife and child when a mob took his wife in a fire. He’s only a concerned father now, trying to protect his 100-something years young daughter from the menace that is humanity. What he winds up being is a completely ball-less ‘master’ vampire who never bites anyone and is reduced to roaring at people when he gets upset.
But it’s a children’s movie, you say, of course Dracula didn’t bite anyone. That’s not my fault. Sony Pictures chose to make a movie about a monster that couldn’t do anything monstrous. I mean, if Lionsgate chose to make a children’s movie starring Leatherface, you’d be a little off-put if he didn’t chainsaw anybody, even though you knew it probably wouldn’t happen. So I’m saying a children’s movie about classic horror monsters is a mistake in and of itself.
But since they insisted, well, what did work? Adam Sandler’s accent? No, it made him cartoony to the point of silliness (again, I know it was a children’s movie, but the accent just didn’t work for me). Jonathan was completely obnoxious throughout as was Mavis. I was about to go through the list of characters, but it would just annoy me all over again. I kind of liked Wayne the werewolf and Griffin the invisible man. I enjoyed the zombies whenever they were on screen. But I absolutely HATED the shrunken heads.
And the jokes themselves seemed put in as an afterthought. The poorer children’s movies have a tell that reveals them as the weak movies they are- senseless violence. Remember how the minions in Despicable Me would punch each other for no reason and remember how nothing like that ever happened to Toy Story (you should get that I didn’t think DM was any good)? Hotel Transylvania’s tell was Dracula roaring at everyone. It wasn’t really funny, they went to it too often, and it didn’t make sense why anybody was afraid after he’d done that.
What did make me laugh, but struck me as undeservedly funny after I left the theater was near the end when Dracula saw part of a movie that was obviously a dig at Twilight with sparkly, shirtless vampire brooding in a forest. Dracula makes a comment I can’t remember about this being what people think of his kind even though Twilight’s vampires actually eat people whereas Dracula doesn’t seem to eat anything with a pulse in Hotel Transylvania. It reminded me of what Roger Ebert said about Fun with Dick and Jane and the movie’s lampooning of the failures of Wallstreet. The movie just didn’t deserve to make the joke because it hadn’t earned it.
I would give this movie 2 out of 5 stars and that’s only because my 5 year old enjoyed it.
e this movie 2 out of 5 stars and that’s only because my 5 year old enjoyed it.