In this Sony Animation Studios outing, we are treated to a look into the world of classic Hollywood monsters and what their vacations might look like. We are introduced to Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Dracula seeks to build a refuge for monsters everywhere so he builds a hotel where they can escape from the dreadful humans. Well, on Mavis’ 118th birthday, a human manages to stumble upon the hotel. Johnny (Andy Samberg) soon falls for Mavis… but will love be able to overcome all their differences?
A lot works here, which surprised me. The trailers didn’t really sell this movie to me but after it was #1 at the Box Office for a few weekends, I was curious.
Let me start with the visuals. This isn’t a Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks picture, so I’d consider it an underdog in the realm of CGI films. But the visuals were stunning. As the camera zooms out to show you the hotel, it’s breathtaking. Textures on the characters are also really crisp. Fish creatures look perfectly slimy, just as the ooze looks perfectly reflective. The colors are vibrant and fresh and your eyes are constantly entertained. They’ve achieved some great work here.
And when it comes to voice actors, they’ve snagged a huge list of amazing talent and a huge lot of former SNL stars. Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler pair up again (after That’s My Boy), joined also by Ceelo Green, David Spade, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz, and more. The great thing about this was that only Samberg and Buscemi were immediately noticeable to me. I have a hard time with CGI films that focus on A-List talent and their voices almost detract from the experience. Here, I didn’t even realize Sandler was the star of the movie until the credits rolled. The stars managed to avoid their characteristic noises and voices and really let the jokes land on their own. Samberg was a definite exception but it worked on most levels.
When it comes to the movie’s sense of humor, there is a balance of smart witty humor that might fly under the radars and then obvious physical jokes that might appeal to children. I laughed pretty much through the entire things, with a few exceptions. It was smart and self-referential and I loved it.
What didn’t work?
While the movie was hilarious, its plotline was about as predictable as they come. When I tell you that the vampire girl falls for a human man, you can probably write the script yourself. It plays out exactly like you’d imagine, though it’s still a fun and touching journey.
I was really impressed. It’s predictable but the journey to the endpoint is a fun one and should entertain most audiences. The voice talent was spot-on and some of the more subtle pieces of humor will leave you in stitches. If you’re looking for some fun escapism, Hotel Transylvania will definitely do the trick.