In Hotel Transylvania, Adam Sandler may well have delivered his most enjoyable performance in years…ironic, given that you never see him in the film! Sandler provides the voice of Count Dracula in this smart and lively 3D animated movie that makes the same point as Monsters Inc – that ghosts and spirits and fearful-looking monsters are more scared of humans than the other way round.
Sandler’s Dracula is an overprotective single father who only wants to shelter his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) from the world of nasty humans. Their sanctuary is the remote castle hotel he has built for fellow monsters to relax and unwind, without any threat of pesky humans sniffing them out and troubling them. But on Mavis’ 118th birthday, a wayward backpacker named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles into the hotel and, inevitably, Dracula’s darling daughter falls for the human much to daddy’s horror.
Director Gendy Tartakovsky keeps the pace brisk, throwing in lots of clever lines and some nicely realized characters. Among those who get maximum screen-time is a henpecked Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Blob, and my favorite, a weary Wolfman (voiced superbly by Steve Buscemi) who seems ill-equipped to handle his litter of manic kids. Hotel Transylvania’s greatest strength is the remarkable animation itself, and the rich detail in virtually every frame.
The film does lose steam in its final twenty minutes or so, when it hurtles towards its predictable, feel-good ending, but there’s one Twilight joke so well-timed, you can’t help but leave smiling.
I’m going with three out of five for Hotel Transylvania. Adam Sandler anchors the film with a full-bodied, terrific performance that reminds us just what a gifted comedian he is. Watch this film, you’ll enjoy it!