Hotel Transylvania movie review

Tell me if you heard this one before: monsters are misunderstood and it turns out they're as scared of humans as we are of them. Hotel Transylvania doesn't exactly tread on original ground, though its Halloween-friendly cast of characters is sure to attract massive audiences of noisy kids. I'd rather watch Monsters, Inc., but I'm pretty sure the kids won't care either way.

Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs Hotel Transylvania, a safe haven for monsters that want a break from the constant fear of humans. Mavis (Selena Gomez) is his coming-of-age daughter looking to explore the world and give humanity a shot. Dracula is the typical overprotective father. When a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) aimlessly wanders into the hotel, his doofy charm threatens Dracula's attempts to scare Mavis from the outside world.

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Beyond that central plot, Hotel Transylvania is more or less a series of hyperactive, slapstick moments involving all manner of horror movie monsters. It is relentlessly manic in that way that's supposed to keep a child occupied but will drive most moviegoers mad. It doesn't help that most of the jokes are the kind of out-of-touch referential humor that will make you squirm in your seat. When Hotel Transylvania name-drops both The Dave Matthews Band and Slipknot, you have to wonder what year the script was actually written in.

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Topping off the unpleasant humor is an intolerable voice performance by Adam Sandler. His Dracula impression is obnoxious, inconsistent, and pervasive enough to write off the movie entirely. Andy Samberg tries his best with what he's given, but Jonathan is equally obnoxious as the kid from every Nerf and Mountain Dew commercial you've ever seen. That two out of the three main characters are unlikable and annoying really doesn't give the film much else to work with.

Still, Hotel Transylvania does manage a few funny moments, usually involving the novelty of the various horror movie monsters. It got a few laughs out of me despite how little I enjoyed it overall, so I've got to give it that at least. Unsurprisingly, it was the moments where the film slowed down for a few seconds that were typically the most enjoyable. That, and any moment that doesn't feature Sandler or Samberg's characters were usually evocative of a much better movie.

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It's a tragedy that it's probably too late to advise you all to go see ParaNorman instead, but I would seriously recommend you see ParaNorman instead. It's infinitely more charming, intelligent, and funny. Hotel Transylvania may take a swing at Twilight for dumbing down vampires, but I'm not sure Adam Sandler's Dracula is doing vampires many more favors. It's mercifully short and occasionally funny, but other than that, Hotel Transylvania is yet another example of a kid's movie that seems designed rather than crafted. It's nothing more than a 90 minute break from your kids.

star

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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