Hotel Transylvania Review

So I watched Hotel Transylvania…

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I actually had zero interest in watching this movie when it first came out. It’s trailer seemed really childish and I didn’t think it had anything to offer me. With its sequel out, I decided to give this movie a chance and while it isn’t the best animated movie I’ve ever seen, I actually had fun watching it.

Okay, basic plot: In an attempt to protect his daughter – Mavis – and provide a safe haven for monsters, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) builds a hotel (Hotel Transylvania) where monsters can be themselves safe from humans. For a century the hotel runs perfectly without a single human ever disturbing the new-found peace that the hotel provides. This all changes when a human – Johnny (Andy Samberg) – accidentally wanders into the hotel and falls in love with Mavis (Selena Gomez). Dracula must now try to keep Johnny’s presence a secret while trying to prevent the budding love between his daughter and this potential human threat.

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This movie was actually more of a pleasure to watch than I thought it would be. This movie is almost exclusively aimed at kids and lacks the adult appeal of a Pixar or Dreamworks picture. That being said, this movie still has a profound story and plenty of elements that I enjoyed. The movie’s bedrock is the father-daughter relationship between Count Dracula and his daughter Mavis. Dracula is a widower and he’s devoted his life to protecting Mavis. Mavis wants to explore the world and leave the confides of the hotel but Dracula wants to keep her close where he can make sure she’s safe. Yeah, it’s a bit of a Finding Nemo ripoff but it’s a well done ripoff. It’s actually a pity that this movie limits itself to a younger audience because there are certain darker themes that the movie prods at without every fully probing. If the movie had fully delved into these themes it could have been rather memorable.

In the movie, monsters are depicted as being as afraid of humans as humans are afraid of them and mixing between the two subgroups is definitely frowned up. Obviously you could take these two subdivisions and replace them with any arbitrary division of race, religion or culture. The movie addresses this issue of division in a very superficial way but had it been made for a more mature audience, it really could have had a more powerful message. The movie still manages to convey the message but it’s done in a rather preachy way and the filmmakers hit you over the head with the message instead of inspiring you with it. Monsters and humans can be friends, we get it.

The monster elements of this movie are its best features. Seeing monsters like Frankenstein and The Werewolf dealing with regular everyday issues like fighting with their wives or trying to keep their kids in line is really fun to see. I also really enjoyed the Zombie Bellhops who worked at the hotel, they were probably my favourite things from the movie. Adam Sandler really entertained me with his voice-acting as Dracula. It’s a little over-the-top like everything Sandler has ever done but it works. He’s funny and a little bit silly which really works for the film.

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My favourite character in this movie is Mavis (horrible name aside) she has this great adventurous spirit and dark charm to her. Selena Gomez does a fine job voicing her but every time I looked at her, I found myself wondering how great Rihanna would have been in the role. Look I don’t think Rihanna is necessarily a great voice-actress (or actress in general) but Mavis’ vibe and spirit seemed like it would have been perfect for her. Don’t know how they would have explained the Caribbean accent.

Overall, the best word to describe this movie is “cute”. It is made for kids and, therefore, couldn’t explore the themes that I wanted fully. If you’re a parent or a seven-year-old reading this, I’d recommend this movie; otherwise go watch something from Pixar. 6/10

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