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Hotel Transylvania - DVD Review

Hotel Transylvania

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

HOTEL Transylvania may boast five-star visuals and a promising premise but checking in is still to be done with caution.

Directed by Genndy Tartakosky, whose résumé extends to TV favourites Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, the film seldom sits still and attempts to combine the best elements of Tex Avery inspired lunacy with the worst elements of crass toilet humour.

But it’s badly let down by a script that’s been compiled by no less than five writers and some heavy-handed message making about over-protective parenting and acceptance. The song and dance routines feel flat too.

And yet, as mentioned, the premise had so much potential. Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) is so keen to lead a peaceful existence away from humans that he has created an idyllic hotel hideaway offering luxury vacations to fellow ghouls such as Frankenstein (Kevin James), Wayne Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and Murray The Mummy (CeeLo Green). It also provides safe refuge for his teenage daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez).

But on the eve of her 118th birthday the hotel is visited by an unwanted guest: a human teenager named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) who makes matters worse by taking a shine to the Count’s daughter, prompting dad to resort to extreme methods to get rid of the threat.

Given its colourful cast of characters and Tartakovsky’s undoubted eye for a slick visual, Hotel Transylvania ought to have been a rip-roaring success.
But rather than aspiring to the sophistication of Pixar or the creativity of more recent animated hits such as Paranorman and Frankenweenie, which both treat its horror elements with more reverence, it pales by comparison.

The youngest members of the audience may enjoy its limited charms but adults may be scratching their head in bewilderment, for even in terms of vocal performance the film comes up short, delivering very few characters that are worth getting to know.

Sandler overdoes the camp as Dracula and lacks any bite, Gomez is a functional teen and Samberg an extremely irritating Jonathan, while other creations aren’t afforded enough time to make their mark.

Put together, Hotel Transylvania winds up feeling more like a two-star experience.

Certificate: U
Running time: 91mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: February 4, 2013