To protect his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and to create a sanctuary for the supernatural, the one and only vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler) has opened Hotel Transylvania, and for over a hundred years the place has proven to be an undead hotspot safe from the influence of the human world. But now, with his little girl turning 118, intrepid adventure-seeking human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) has stumbled upon the resort, its owner utterly clueless how to both keep the young man alive as well as stop him from blabbing about what heís discovered.
- Synopsis reprinted from my September 28, 2012 Theatrical Review
Hereís what I wrote about this title in my original theatrical review:
ďWhere to begin. So, in all fairness, the new computer animated family comedy Hotel Transylvania isnít without its charms. The early scenes charting Draculaís careful (and caring) upbringing of Mavis is surprisingly sweet, effectively setting the stage for the events to come in a way that caught me a tiny bit by surprise. The animation, recalling both the stop-motion theatrics of Rankin-Bass and the hand-drawn Saturday morning aesthetics of Hanna-Barbara, is excellent, and there were plenty of moments throughout the movie where my eyes were suitably dazzled.
Thatís the good news. The bad? The script is a lost cause, filled with sophomoric toilet humor below even the lowest Disney Channel or Cartoon Network standards. Structurally, itís also a bit of a mess, the central dynamics never rising too far above the humdrum or the status quo to make them anywhere near as exciting or as endearing as they absolutely must be for the movie to be even anything close to a success. Iím not sure what the writers were going for (there are five credited, two for the script, three for the story) but they fail to achieve anything of merit, and by the time the movie reached its musical monster mash of a conclusion there was little that happened beforehand worthy of remembering.
The central conceit is that Dracula decides to disguise Jonathan as a junior Frankenstein (much to the chagrin of the actual one, energetically voiced by Kevin James) in order to keep his guests from knowing the guyís true identity, the young man falling for Mavis (and vice-versa) in the process. Problem is, the romance is flat and unappealing, the mistaken identity humor is troubled and rarely funny and the friendship that supposedly develops between vampire and human never germinates as richly as it should. Everything is flat and by the numbers, and while the animation is suitably glorious and the vocal work relatively strong the fact no one has anything of interest to say or anything worthwhile to do is a glaring problem just about nothing can compensate for.
There are some songs, but the feel a bit half-baked and not fully developed enough to be as funny as Iím sure Sandler and company wanted them to be. There are a few solid gags involving a continually hungry gremlin, but her bright bits of comic relief are few and far between. I also enjoyed a sort of out of nowhere bit involving Dracula, Jonathan and a room full of flying tables, but the sequence, while entertaining, is so disconnected from the rest of the film it ends up not adding as much to the proceedings as it potentially could have under stronger direction and a better script.
The movie is filled to the brim with solid vocal performers including Sandler regulars like David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz and Rob Riggle, while CeeLo Green and Fran Drescher also lend their talents to the party allowing for a few bits of verbal goodness impossible to dismiss. It isnít enough, none of it adding up to anything substantial as the movie just goes through the motions heading to a forgone conclusion of sacrifice, respect, understanding and forgiveness blatantly foreshadowed during the aforementioned, and pretty darn nifty, prologue.
I donít have anything else to add. Iím sure some little kids might get a kick out of Hotel Transylvania, the movie certain to do just fine when it makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD sometime next year. But I canít suggest families check-in at a theatre to watch it, the movie just too simplistically derivative to warrant the ticket price.Ē
Nothing new to add although, like I sort of mention at the end of the review, the movie DOES play better at home than it did in the theatre. I still wouldnít ever watch it again more than likely, but at the same time Iíll be perfectly happy gifting the Blu-ray to my nieces and let them obsess over it like itís the greatest motion picture ever made.
Hotel Transylvania is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 1.85:1/1080p transfer.
This Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack along with French and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and features optional English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
∑ Audio Commentary with director Genndy Tartakovsky, producer Michelle Murdocca and visual effects Supervisor Daniel Kramer
∑ Goodnight Mr. Foot (4:07)
∑ Deleted Scenes (6:21)
∑ Meet the Staff and Guests: Voicing Hotel Transylvania (6:29)
∑ Making the Hotel (3:44)
∑ Progression Reels (8:04)
∑ Music Video ďProblem (Monster Remix)Ē by Becky G Featuring Will.I.Am. (3:27)
∑ Behind the Scenes of ďProblem (Monster Remix)Ē (2:21)
Other than the pointless behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the ďProblemĒ music video, the commentary track, deleted scenes (there are two), progression reels and featurettes are incredibly strong, going into far greater detail in regards to the filmís production than I thought they would beforehand. Itís solid stuff, and by and large itís fairly worthwhile.
The set also includes DVD and Ultraviolet copies of the film and includes trailers for The Smurfs 2, Arthur Christmas, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Adventures in Zambezia.
Hotel Transylvania will more than likely please the kids quite a lot, and in all honesty thereís not a ton wrong with that. The adults, however, will want to find something else to do while theyíre watching this one, as entertainment value for those over the age of 12 is minimal at best, absent altogether in a worst case scenario. All that said, Sonyís Blu-ray presentation is pretty close to perfect, both video and sound close to reference quality.