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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Hotel Transylvania – 3D | Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi, David Spade | Review

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Hotel Transylvania

Add Sony Animations' Hotel Transylvania to the onslaught of animated films featuring monsters who are far from scary.  Targeted at the younger generation, the filmmakers have added a twist, making the classic horror creatures that are supposed to make us tremble with fear,  just misunderstood with very human-like emotions, but with the emphasis on outrageous, funny behavior.

In a continuation of that formula, Dracula and his cohorts are portrayed as a wacky bunch of creatures that are more afraid of humans than we are of them in this family friendly film that is basically a sweet and charming tale about a father and his beloved daughter that most of us can relate to.

Leading the all star cast of actors who supply the fabulous voice over work is Adam Sandler as the centuries old creature of the night, Count Dracula, a widower and father to young daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez).  As part of raising and protecting Mavis from the outside world, Drac has built and run Hotel Transylvania, a lavish 5 stake resort, located deep in a secluded forest.  It is the perfect vacation destination and/or safe haven for fellow monsters and their families to enjoy peace, tranquility and undisturbed fun, far from human persecution. It is another thing for the bored, rebellious Mavis who is tired of being cooped up in the mansion her whole life.  She feels trapped and longs to see the outside world against the approval of her father who blames humans, the “real” monsters, for his wife's death.

As the story unfolds, a teenage Mavis is about to turn 118 and her dear old dad is making preparations for her big birthday celebration with the help of his staff that includes zombie bellhops and housekeeping witches who fly through the premises on their brooms.  To share the momentous occasion Drac has invited some his fellow monsters as guests for the special weekend.  Among the arrivals are Frankenstein's monster (Kevin James) and his bride, Eunice (Fran Drescher), the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), a Werewolf named Wayne, (Steve Buscemi) with his wife Wanda (Molly Shannon) and their numerous kids, Big Foot, Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz), and The Blob (which looks more like a jello mold).

Just as the guests have settled in, Drac's world is turned upside down when Jonathan (Andy Samburg) a young backpacking, human dude suddenly stumbles into the front door of the hotel.  No human has ever entered the establishment, but Drac permits the unintentional party crasher to stay after Johnny is transformed by costume and makeup into passing as Frankenstein's 121 year old cousin, the party planner.

If hiding Johnny's real identity from his guests isn't hard enough for Drac, to his horror, he must come to grips with the fact that the unwanted human intruder has fallen for the cool looking Mavis and it  was “zing” at first sight.

In his feature film debut director Genndy Tartakovsky (TV's “The Powerpuff Girls,” “Samurai Jack”) delivers a good, fast paced, enjoyable piece of entertainment  featuring eye pleasing visuals, a mix of slapstick, spoof, sight gags, and clever one-liners that garner a fair amount of chuckles, if not rip roaring laughs.

The running joke about how everyone assumes Dracula says “blah blah blah”, when he insists that isn't  true, captured giggles, and one of the funniest scenes involves the Invisible Man trying to play charades when all that he has to work with is his eyeglasses.

There is also a message for overly protective parents to loosen their reins and allow their children to find things out for themselves.

Hotel Transylvania is definitely not a place where humans would want to stay. However,  an hour and a half visit to this comical monster mansion is something you shouldn't fear and may very well want to consider.

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