By Molly Grosskreutz
A&E Assistant Editor
Classic conceptions about monsters are flipped on their head in “Hotel Transylvania,” an animated comedy directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Following the death of his wife, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) secludes himself in Hotel Transylvania, a castle he transforms into a Xanadu-esque escape meant to protect his young daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and shut out ill-intentioned humans.
Over time, the hotel transforms into a getaway for monsters everywhere. Problems arise, however, when Mavis turns 118, and wants to explore the world. Things get even more complicated when Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a young human world-traveler, stumbles into the hotel that same day.
MG: I thought the overall premise of this movie was refreshingly original. There are a lot of bad monster movies out there, but making this one kid-friendly and animated invites a larger audience to partake in it. Like “Monsters, Inc.,” these monsters aren’t scary, and we as viewers feel empathy for beings that are supposed so be so different from us.
VG: I’m not a fan of monsters—at all. I don’t understand people’s fascination with them, nor their significant role in this world. The concept and storyline of the movie, however, sort of changed my outlook for the better on them and calmed down their ferocious definition. They’re cute, they have feelings too.
MG: Adam Sandler was great as Dracula. I got a real sense that he was an overprotective parent, just looking out for his little girl. Plus, his thick vampire accent was entertaining.
VG: The voices were very fitting for each character. I was impressed, as always, by Sandler; I had a hard time convincing myself that it was indeed his faux-accented voice, but so it went. As for the other characters, the personification and over-exaggeration of the voices caught my attention. Kudos to that.
MG: For me, the most memorable aspect of this movie was the visuals. For once, the computer-generated effects didn’t feel overdone. The high level of artistry displayed even in the backgrounds often stunned me. I’m usually rather anti-computer animation (as a classic Disney fan…like…hand-drawing everything), but this movie does a good job of using modern technology in a fun and impressive way.
VG: It had been years since I last saw an animated flick in the cinema, so this outstanding work was uplifting—it was nice to see so many colors and happiness all bundled together. Something crafty I caught on to was how the animations matched up, even if vaguely, to the voice actors. Sneaky, sneaky.
MG: As much as I enjoyed this movie, there were a few drawbacks. I couldn’t stand Samberg’s character. I found everything about him obnoxious and stereotypical. If he were the only human I’d encountered in over a hundred years of isolation, I would have been very unimpressed.
VG: Sandler’s character was both flattering and irritating. Flattering because the protection and love he has for his hotel and his daughter, most importantly, is sweet and uncommon. He was irritating at the same time, though, because he had a lot of possessive and overbearing antics. Thumbs down for that.
MG: There were also moments when the movie felt too preachy—like the writers were trying to beat us over the head with moral lessons. I never like being told how to think so directly. It tried too hard in some places.
VG: The intended implantation of the morals or messages rubbed me the wrong way as well. The children seeing the movie won’t catch on to this trickery, yet this movie is aimed at young people; the older audiences, however, will catch on to it, but that leaves the kids oblivious.
MG: That being said, one of the themes of this movie is that we shouldn’t fear that which we don’t understand. I think that is a very valuable lesson to learn, and I’m glad this movie exposes children to it at an early age.
VG: Throughout the movie, I kept thinking to myself, “how would I enjoy this movie if I were a seven- or eight-year-old child?” I came to the realization that I would have been terrified! Honestly. Not only am I anti-Halloween but if I had seen this movie as a little girl, I would have sat through, and left the movie, shaken up and wide-eyed. I’m glad, however, this is aimed at all audiences—there’s something for everyone.
MG: Thumbs up.
VG: Thumbs up.