HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (2012)
Movie Review by Sheri White
My kids are old and wizened now at the ripe ages of 23, 17, and 14, which means I haven’t seen a kids’ movie in the theater in a long time. So I was surprised when the two youngest wanted to go with me to see this movie after I told them I was reviewing it for CKF. I didn’t even have to entice them with promises of candy and popcorn.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was THE GROOVIE GOOLIES (1970 – 1971) —the characters were cool, hip versions of the classic movie monsters, like Dracula and Frankenstein. I loved that show so much. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA reminded me a lot of that awesome show.
Dracula is now a single dad with a precious little girl. He promised his wife before she died that he would always take care of Mavis and protect her. He has a hotel built that is a sanctuary not only for Mavis, but for all monsters. No human can get in.
That all changes on Mavis’s 118th birthday. Her dad has promised her for years that she could leave the hotel and check out a human village on that birthday. And, true to his word, he lets her go. But she quickly realizes the outside world isn’t safe and returns home.
Happy once again, Dracula continues to plan her birthday party. It’s like Bobby Boris Pickett’s song “The Monster Mash” come to life. All the monsters are there to celebrate, and it’s a scream. Until a young hiker accidentally crashes the good time.
Adults will see where this is headed once Mavis and Johnny run into each other and their eyes meet. What follows is a lot of slapstick comedy as Dracula frantically tries to keep them apart, as well as keeping Johnny’s human status a secret.
In the end, the movie is about letting your kids go, no matter how much you want them to stay.
My jaded teenage girls loved the movie. I enjoyed it very much myself. There is nothing inappropriate for any age —well, there is a cold swimming pool joke that I know my kids got because they watch SEINFELD —and it shouldn’t be frightening to young children, I’d say five ages and up. There are a few times when Dracula makes a scary red angry face, and that might freak out littler kids.
Parents will relate to Dracula not wanting to let Mavis leave the hotel, especially since he’s afraid all humans are dangerous – they did kill his wife, after all. There are enough sight gags and sly humor to keep adults interested and amused. Lots of action and color will keep kids riveted.
I don’t say this often about kids’ movies, but I would see this again. There is a lot going on that you can miss the first time around. When my kids were little, they watched SHREK on DVD almost every day, and I didn’t mind. This is one that I wouldn’t mind as well. I’d even watch it by myself, like I do SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS —what can I say, kids’ stuff can be cooler than adult programming sometimes.
The voice acting is wonderful —I’m not a huge fan of Adam Sandler, but his Dracula was great. You’ll recognize several other voices in the movie, such as Kevin James (as Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (as the Werewolf) and Selena Gomez (as Mavis). There’s a fun jam session at the end.
Don’t worry about staying around for the credits – nothing happens once the movie is over.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA – fun for all ages, even know-it-all teenagers. I give it four knives.
© Copyright 2012 by Sheri White
Sheri White gives HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA ~FOUR knives (out of five).