The idea of putting all the classic monsters together in a film has some serious potential. In Genndy Tartakovsky’s — creator behind Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack — feature debut Hotel Transylvania, the potential is lost rather quickly as Count Dracula’s daughter turning 118 and wanting to leave the castle to explore the world becomes the central plot. Like a vampire, this film sucks you in, only to leave you high and dry.
Hotel Transylvania is a getaway resort where monsters can cut loose and let their fangs down. Created by Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) as a way to keep his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) protected, the hotel also acts as a barrier from the human world. You see, in this story it is the monsters that fear the humans, with their pitchforks and fire. This is about as clever as the film ever musters and the audience is quickly introduced to a series of fart jokes and dance numbers.
As you can guess, a human (Andy Samberg) makes his way into the hotel and bumps into Mavis. Immediately the two are enamoured with one another though neither is aware of the others identity. This love story grows all the more intolerable as Dracula does his best to keep the two apart while forming a relationship with the human.
The supporting voices that give life to the other great monsters of the past include a wide collection of Saturday Night Live alumni and Sandler’s usual suspects. Frankenstein (Kevin James), The Invisible Man (David Spade) and Mummy (Cee Lo Green) are all given a new spin but never become interesting. It’s Steve Buscemi’s Wolfman, worn down by his cubs and perpetually pregnant wife, who provide a laugh every time in frame.
While the film’s predictability and spoiled potential are its major downfalls, the animation is rather nostalgic. Like Tartakovsky’s earlier animated creations, Hotel Transylvania does well blending the old animation style of Tex Avery and Looney Tunes with new digital media. At different points in the film Dracula can’t control his rage and the colour shifts to a collection of reds and blacks giving him a sinister devil-face, very reminiscent of Aku from Samurai Jack.
On paper this story might look like it could work but on screen it proves otherwise. It’s the love story between Dracula and Mavis and the human that makes this a story not about monsters but about a parent’s difficulty letting go and a child becoming an adult, blah blah blah (in my best Dracula voice). Close the casket on Hotel Transylvania because this is one tired tale.