Hotel Transylvania,
directed by Gennedy Tartakovsky
(Sony, 2013)

Hotel Transylvania had a long and tortured journey to the screen, going through so many writers that it probably couldn't help ending up becoming a one-note, very conventional storyline.

It's pleasant enough to be good, but it's not exactly stellar. The snappy, swift animation keep things moving when the plot risks dragging everything down, and it has enough laughs to keep you amused -- or at least diverted.

All the monsters in the world are gathered under one roof. Hotel Transylvania is the great achievement of Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), an overprotective single father who built the hotel to shelter his 118-year-old daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). For years he's been hiding her from the world and from the wicked and horrible ways of humans, who have stormed their castles, hunted them like animals and made their lives miserable. His magnificent castle is a place where all monsters can come and be themselves in safety.

Enter Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a 21-year-old free spirit who found the hotel by accident while hiking through the woods. His first meeting with Mavis is love at first sight, tossing a spanner in the intricate plans of the overprotective count.

This is the first movie I can remember where everyone except the lead father-daughter characters are so poorly matched with their characters, who are poorly defined to begin with, that it's actually distracting from the simplistic plot. There are a couple of good jokes and some decent visual gags, but overall it's a movie that tries too hard to be zippy and multilayered and thrilling, and ends up being a frenetic rollercoaster that's too full of gags. It has charm, but originality is largely absent. Still, as a way to spend a pleasant time with kids, it fits the bill nicely.

review by
Mary Harvey

25 May 2013

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