PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Entertainment

October 4, 2012

Hotel Transylvania” passes inspection, but just barely

— The new animated family comedy, “Hotel Transylvania” isn’t a bad movie, but given its colorful premise and all-star band of voice actors, the movie certainly doesn’t live up to it’s full potential. This is just another mediocre family film where the actors seem to be on autopilot and the story doesn’t strive for anything more than obvious comedic chuckles. 

That’s a disappointment given the story’s creative potential. In the movie we learn that Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) has retired from his scary ways, opting instead to run a hotel that caters exclusively to monsters. This is a private retreat where Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Invisible Man (David Spade) a family of werewolves (Steve Buscemi & Molly Shannon) and other assorted monsters can come and relax without having to worry about being chased around by a mob of pitchfork wielding humans.

Things are running nicely until a stoner-dude human (Andy Samberg) wanders through the hotel’s front door. Not only does his presence cause chaos among the monsters, but he also sparks some romantic feeling in Dracula’s little girl, Mavis (Selena Gomez). She’s turning 118 (which is just a teenager in Vampire years) and is itching to get out and see the world. Poor daddy Drac is left scrambling as he tries to keep his hotel running smoothly and deal with romance that is sprouting between his little girl and the human interloper.

At its heart, “Hotel Transylvania” is just a story about a doting father dealing with the fact this his little girl is growing up and getting ready to leave the nest, er, crypt. It’s a story that’s been done a million times before, but despite the fact that the daddy and daughter are vampires, the story feels like we’ve seen it all before.

The same holds true for the acting, which is mostly a series of caricatures or movie-monster impersonations.  Only the wolfman gives us something more than a simple clichéd performance. It’s ironic that a movie where Dracula gets upset when others engage in vampire stereotypes, his character should consist mainly of bad stereotypes. 

To be fair, the children in the audience may not care, or even notice the acting clichés. The tiny tikes at my screening were certainly enthralled by the film’s silly antics and vibrant animation. There’s plenty of action and the humor is mostly aimed at the pre-teen set. There are a few adult level jokes to keep mom and dad happy, and even one biting jab at the “Twilight” movies that made me smile, but for the most part, “Hotel Transylvania” aims only to please the kids and it succeeds by that meager standard.

 This will probably end up as a Halloween party staple for parents looking to entertain kids under the age of ten. Kids should be happy, but not thrilled by “Hotel Transylvania,” a mediocre family animated film that doesn’t rise to its full potential.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.

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