Even with the great Genndy Tartakovsky behind the screen, I held out almost no hope for “Hotel Transylvania,” because even in an animated film for kids, Adam Sandler is never above casting his slew of pseudo talented friends as the supporting cast. Like most Sandler productions, “Hotel Transylvania” can occasionally be loud and silly, but when it reaches down for a heart, it manages to be a sweet bit of family fare.
Adam Sandler stars as Dracula, who is a doting father that’s spent most of his lifetime maintaining a gigantic hotel in the outstretches of civilization. With his young daughter Mavis, he welcomes a reunion of his monster friends every year. Meanwhile Mavis (Selena Gomez), a pretty young vampire, wants to see what the outside world has in store for her. But her dad isn’t ready to quite let her go. Andy Samberg is hilarious as the inept Jonathan, a slacker and lone traveler who accidentally ends up at the hotel. Much to his surprise, he discovers the hotel is for monsters, and in an effort to flee he meets Mavis and begins falling for her.
Jonathan in spite of his lack of social graces is well traveled and experienced, while Mavis craves stepping outside to see what’s beyond the hotel, and they garner instant chemistry that’s thankfully very sweet and engaging. Sandler also gives a very good performance as Dracula, a crusty old innkeeper who keeps Mavis under lock and key, and harbors his own tragic past involving the mother of Mavis. When Jonathan begins hitting it off with the monsters, Dracula too discovers that he has something to teach everyone. “Hotel Transylvania” may not be for everyone, but it does a good job of attempting to channel the likes of “Mad Monster Party.”
And in spite of the computer animation, Tartakovsky’s brilliant animation shines through. Even when the humor falls flat every now and then, Tartakovsky’s incredible animation and ability to convey comedy and sight gags is rich and often times worth paying attention to. Thankfully Sandler doesn’t steal the movie from the cast, as Andy Samberg is hilarious, while Selena Gomez is adorable as the teenage vampire Mavis who wants nothing more than to live, even as a vampire. “Hotel Transylvania” has the definite stamp of Sandler and his crew, but in the end it’s a fine and very sweet animated family film. Especially for the horror loving family.