Film: Hotel Transylvania (U/A)
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Cast: Voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Cee Lo Green
Dracula (Sandler) is the owner of a hotel and resort for monsters. Apart from that he's a doting father whose daughter Mavis (Gomez) is tied to his apron strings. While she wants to see that world, he's afraid of humans (as most monsters are) and, even more, to let go of her.
Things get out of hand when a human, the ditsy and freewheeling Johnathan (Samberg) accidently crashes Mavis's 118th birthday.
A dislosure: I (gulp) have quite enjoyed Adam Sandler's early films. And this one, animated in 3D and centred on ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, is a throwback to that sort of light-headed but entertaining fare.
Here's how: his stories always saw the maturing of an idiot protagonist, his weird and colourful associates, and had a moral at the end of the film to be salvaged from the piles of juvenile humour. Here, Sandler voices a stately vampire — a far cry from his good-natured-but-simple-minded oaf who flies off the handle in fits of dumb rage. But the odd supporting cast comes out of the shadows in the form of classic monsters. Steve Buscemi, Davis Spade and Kevin James, recurring faces in media produced by Sandler's production company Happy Madison, voice a werewolf, the Invisible Man, and Frankenstein, respectively. More significantly, the film, fart jokes and all, is unpretentious.
If you are disgusted already, know that the film is very predictable to boot. Still, it has its charms, even for someone who holds Sandler in contempt. Tartakovsky, who is renowned for his ground-breaking work in two dimensions on Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory, embellishes the overall product with his exciting character designs and zany cartoon motions filling charm and humour in the gaps of the script.
While the overall voice acting of the cast is good, Saturday Night Live and The Lonely Island's Samberg playing the clueless kid is quite amazing, drawing laughs with every delivery. The writing of Hotel Transylvania doesn't quite do to classic horror cliches what Shrek did with fairytale ones, but it's still an amusing, unpretentious film.