After having just finishing Hotel Transylvania 2, I was going to do a review of the newest movie. However, I think it’s not fair to review the second without doing one of the first! It’s not that I don’t love the second. In fact, I adore it… But I adore it mainly because of the original~
About: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania! A hotel and refuge for monsters from all around the world. It is renown for its hospitality and, best of all, is run by Dracula. When his daughter Mavis turns 118, she wants to leave the Hotel and explore, prompting Drac to try to convince her the outside world is way too dangerous and humans will kill her. Unfortunately, just when things are going well for Drac, a human stumbles into the Hotel and wants to check in! It earned only a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes but a 7.1/10 on IMDB. A sequel, obviously, has been done and a Hotel Transylvania 3 has been announced, as well as a spin-off TV series. And, yes, Drac is voiced by Adam Sandler but you can just ignore that fact. I didn’t even realize it was him for a while. SO MOVING ON!
The Plot/Characters: When Johnny, a human, checks into the Hotel, Drac is convinced that if he gets near Mavis he will be able to make her interest in traveling and leaving the hotel increase. Drac forces Johnny to dress up like a monster; specifically Johnnystein, Frankenstein Monster’s cousin. Despite his makeup and outfit, Johnny still brings his human world with him and shows the monsters at the hotel new ways of looking at things and jazzing up the place. Mavis and he grow closer causing Drac to threaten Johnny to leave the Hotel for good, even after he and Mavis “zinged”. Zinging in Hotel Transylvania means that two people have had “love at first sight”. It’s revealed that the reason Drac wants to keep Mavis away from humans is that his wife perished when their house was set on fire by angry humans many years ago. After learning that Johnny and Mavis zinged, however, will Drac change his mind about the human world?
The plot isn’t too hard to figure out. I mean, cliches are everywhere… But what it does in order to go about it definitely makes Hotel Transylvania worth the trip. All of the characters have been super well thought out. They are all interesting and add their own very specific brand of humor and importance to the movie. Dracula seems super stuck up and set in his ways, but as time passes you learn that he is able to loosen up and have fun. He is just super protective of his baby girl and wants the best for her. Johnny is semi-clueless seeming when he first arrives at the Hotel, but over time you learn he’s actually pretty smart when it comes to specific things. While monsters initially freak him out, he shows a lot of character development and ends up getting along VERY well with all of them. Mavis wants to see what is outside the Hotel for once, as she has been coped up her whole life. We learn how kind and sweet she is but also how spunky and full of life the vampire teen can be. Her entire conflict with her father is also heartwarming and touching as the two finally learn to connect. Mavis and Johnny’s love for each other is also very clear despite the obstacles that crop up between them. I know that the characters had me absolutely glued to the screen. They all had such heart to them and it was really easy to get sucked straight into the world because of it.
And the rest of the monsters are also clearly thought out. My favorite is the werewolf father who has so many pups. He’s clearly run down by the insanity of his children all of the time. Murray, Frankenstein and the Invisible Man are also interesting characters in their own right.
Humor: Hotel Transylvania doesn’t really have much adult humor to it, but it is chalk full of humor that the entire family can appreciate. It uses everything from classic cartoon gags to social commentary to just plain silliness.
There’s a moment in the beginning of the film when Johnny first enters the Hotel where he thinks that all of the monsters are all humans in costumes. He proceeds to walk up to a skeleton, amazed, and stick his hand right through her bones, earning him anger from her husband, who proceeds to berate him for touching his wife. Well, that was awkward! The moment launches Johnny into realization about the monsters in the Hotel, causing him to freak out and run around like a mad man.
A running gag is that Drac says “bleh bleh bleh” and this crops up several times in the movie, earning harsh criticism from Drac himself who claims he never says it.
Animation: Sony Animation has really done a great job with the graphics in this movie. All of the characters have a lot of character in their design (which isn’t a surprise, as this animation studios has also brought us Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) and everything from the textures to the backgrounds are clearly well thought out and executed. I mean, it’s no pixar film but the animation is still beautiful! In fact, it reminds me heavily of Dreamworks in a lot of ways.
I mean just look at this… Holy Rabies!
And even… OOPS! SORRY, MY BAD! I DIDN’T MEAN TO SEE YOUR WIFE NAKED!?
The Score: There isn’t much in the way of an OST for Hotel Transylvania that will be remember-able but what it does have going for it are the songs that it utilizes, which are often parodies of actual songs or wholly original. The Zing Song is definitely my favorite~
Overall: Zanny and full of character, Hotel Transylvania stands up amongst a lot of other animated classics for me and had a nice balance of heart and humor. It’s one of those movies that I would gladly sit down and watch, getting sucked in for the 100th time. I feel the film as a whole is underrated and worth a visit if you enjoy animated family movies. If animated movies aren’t for you though, then maybe you won’t enjoy this particular adventure.
Have you seen Hotel Transylvania? If so, what did YOU think?