The latest offering from Sony Animation, Hotel Transylvania, scores big with kids and might earn a few chuckles from adults, but beyond that there isn’t much to it. A few clever gags and decent animation are bogged down by a poor script and a disappointing lack of charm and flair that movies like this need to reach a broader audience. Hotel Transylvania proves to be nothing more than forgettable animated fare, and many older viewers will be left asking themselves, “Did I really just shell out ten bucks for this?”
Dracula and his daughter Mavis open a hidden hotel as a refuge for monsters. But the hotel(and his daughter’s 118th birthday party) are put at risk when a human named Johnny stumbles into the lobby of Dracula’s hotel. Dracula is insistent on sending the witless youth on his way, but when Mavis develops strong feelings for him, problems arise. Can Dracula save his haven for monsters without robbing his daughter of true love?
Five minutes into the movie, it’s clear what the message is. That means the rest of the film is spent exploring the monsters’ silliness in corny and uninteresting ways, with no real story progression. The scenes that are supposed to be touching and sweet are sloppily placed and function only as a quick time-out from the crappy slapstick humor and bad one liners. The only reason an adult would willingly go see this movie on their own would be to overcome a disabling fear of Frankenstein or the Big Bad Wolf. After seeing this film, I don’t think any reincarnation of these characters could ever frighten me because of the silly and absurd ways they are presented.
The one thing the film gets right is the animation. The gorgeous, clean character designs are aesthetically pleasing, and the sprawling, sweeping landscapes are well done. The scene when Mavis and Johnny watch a sunrise on the hotel’s roof stands out because not only is it the most beautiful scene in the film, it is also the most heartfelt and honest.
Despite its breathtaking visuals, Hotel Transylvania ultimately fails to resonate with viewers and will have people wishing the second Despicable Me was released in its place.
2 out of 5 stars