Hotel Transylvania

 
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Release date: Sept. 8, 2012

Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, CeeLo Green

Budget: $85 million

Box office: $358.4 million

In a high-end resort owned by Dracula, he and his monster friends prepare for his daughter’s birthday. However, a human stumbles upon the hotel for the first time in its century-long existence.

Showing audiences a world where classic movie monsters are old friends, Hotel Transylvania attempts to do something new with them. What it delivers is an enjoyable twist on the old tropes surrounding the relationships between monsters and humans, showing what happens when the former close themselves off from the outside world for hundreds of years. Additionally, it does something impressive  and new with the story of an overprotective father afraid to let his curious daughter out into the world out of a mistrust of humans. Both of these ideas converge on each other to produce a fun story compounded by the eventual problems arising from a human discovering them.

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Most of the characters are pretty interesting too, giving good personalities to those classic monsters. Moreover, they all have unique designs to add to those personalities which extends to the animation of the film in its entirety. It really does feel like the viewer has been dropped into a medieval castle that has kept the same look from the middle ages to the present day.

However, there are a couple characters who either feel completely pointless or have barely any redeeming qualities to speak of. Quasimodo’s entire role could have been taken out of the film and it would have improved the flow of the story. Further, Jonathan might have his moments, but the only characterization he has stems from being an unobservant imbecile who found his way into the hotel and can’t understand why he has to leave. It wouldn’t be so bad if he weren’t one of the focal points of the film.

The pacing could use some work as well. Until Jonathan shows up at the hotel, it feels as if the film only wants to get to his introduction. Once he is a part of the story, it slows considerably, as the film is aware of how awful his characterization is and wants the viewer to spend so much time with him in order to force some semblance of enjoyment and connection to the character. The pacing does correct itself about halfway through the story and for the second half of the film, it flows much more naturally.

This isn’t a perfect film, but its weaker moments are supported by an overall enjoyable romp with its monsters.

Awards

Won

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • Film Music

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA - Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie (Adam Sandler as “Count Dracula”)

Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Animated Feature Film

Annie Awards

  • Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Music in an Animated Feature Production

  • Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (Adam Sandler as “Dracula”)

  • Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

  • Best Animated Feature

Behind the Voice Actors Awards

  • Best Male Vocal Performance ina  Feature Film (Adam Sandler as the voice of “Dracula”)

  • Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Animation/Family TV Spot (For “Vacation”)

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Animated Movie

Visual Effects Society AWards

  • Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

  • Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture (“Dracula”)