Halloween Countdown: Hotel Transylvania

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writer:    David I. Stern
Starring: Adam Sandler
               Selena Gomez
               Andy Samberg
               Kevin James
               Steve Buscemi
               David Spade
               Molly Shannon
               Fran Drescher
               Jon Lovitz
               Cee Lo Green
Rating:    **

My last halloween countdown focused on my favourite horror movies from the past; this year I thought I would go towards the family friendly halloween. I am going to countdown 5 family halloween films, from worst to best. 

Classic characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Mummy, have been scaring horror fans for years; now they are entertaining children in the world of animation. Count Dracula (Sandler) is the over-protective father of Mavis (Gomez), who recently turned 118 and is searching for some independence. As her mind begins to wander to the world outside of her four walls, Dracula must come to terms with the idea that his little girl is growing up; and he's not happy about it.

For many years, Dracula has been running an up market hotel, a place that offers a safe haven (from humans) to ghouls, ghosts and monsters alike. This gives the writers plenty of opportunities to have fun with the various creatures to resurrect, allowing for jokes and visual gags galore; plus plenty of weird accents from Sandler. Of course not everything can be smooth sailing, and when dozy, human tourist Jonathan (Samberg), stumbles into the confines of the hotel; then of course gets an instant connection with Mavis, Dracula's life gets turned upside down. As he tries to keep the young lovers separate and hide Jonathan's identity from his unsuspecting guests, things begin to unravel.

Mavis & Jonathan
With an animation veteran like Tartakovsky (The Powerpuff Girls) in the directors chair, you would expect a good mix of characters and entertaining animation, but sadly it all feels just a bit too stale for my liking; like an animated Van Helsing. he does manage to drag some good vocal performances from the supporting cast (James, Spade, Buscemi & Shannon), but the joy of seeing all these iconic characters together soon wears off. The biggest issue though is the disappointing and uninspiring script. Though moments of charm do glisten (mainly thanks to the aforementioned supporting cast), overall it flops; with gags not getting laughs and no real empathy being felt for the characters.

With children being the obvious target audience, you'd think the characters would be a lot more exciting. There's not a decent enough mix of comedy, excitement, or child-friendly scares; and when you're going up against ParaNorman and Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, it's these aspects you need. Admittedly, there's a small part of me that loves the idea of all these classic movie monsters being introduced to a new generation; I just wish it was under better circumstances and in a better movie.

Hotel Transylvania - Trailer