Opening 25 Oct 2012
Writing credits: Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel, Todd Durham, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Principal actors: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher
The vampire Count Dracula oversees the construction of Hotel Translvania, which is a massive castle, built as a fortress to protect Mavis, his only child, from the outside world. Since the death of her mother, he has been over-protective and no human has set foot in the area since 1898. (You can guess what happens next, but wait.) Each year he invites his monster friends to her birthday party. This year she will be 118. Guests like Frankenstein, his fat wife the Mummy, a huge family of werewolves, the invisible man, as well as assorted un-dead and zombies assemble in good spirits. Suddenly, Jonathan, a human back-packing tourist, knocks on the door. In spite of huge efforts by Count Dracula to get rid of him or just plain hide him, Johnny meets Mavis and it goes “zing.” It’s true love at first sight.
This first film by Genndy Tartakovsky leans a bit on The Rocky Horror Show but with a timeless story line: a father refuses to recognize that his daughter has grown up and become independent. An animated film, the monsters are all cute and funny, people you would invite to your own birthday party, although I’m not quite sure where the French hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, fits into the monster department. Maybe they just needed a chef with a French accent. The 3D works and is not unnecessarily flat out into your face. The children in my audience seemed to have had a great time. I found some parts unnecessarily repetitious by the end, e.g., Count Dracula standing with his arms folded, then turning red, then waving his cape, etc. This worked once, but after that we could have used some different poses. Count Dracula and Mavis were almost more interesting when they turned into bats and flew around the castle – very cute bats they were. I would like to see the film again, this time in English with Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, and Steve Buscemi, etc. I have a suspicion that Rick Kavanian (Count Dracula) is wonderful as a live actor in Bully Herbig movies such as Der Schuh des Manitu, and less suitable for voice-overs, although his long list of synchronizations (22 films) might prove me to be wrong. (Becky Tan)