Man the critics were rough on this one...
Now I'm one of the first to bash whatever new tired kid-friendly animated flicks come out these days: Madagascar 3, Ice Age 4, The Lorax... not for me. That said, there are the occasional ones that slip through the cracks and actually end up being pretty good (ParaNorman, The Pirates).
Hotel Transylvania I found to be in-between.
On the one hand you've got its gorgeous animation, its clever premise, its fun winks to old horror movies, its colorful characters and on the other you have...
Actually you have an Adam Sandler Dracula RAP.
I'll let that sink in.
Theeeere it is.
Ok, so that sounds like hell but trust me: Hotel Transylvania is worth a go. For one thing it's a lot of fun. It's pretty darn relentless and certainly never wastes any of its time: it's fast, punchy and nuts going for a Tex Avery-style random toon-craziness we haven't seen achieved quite this well since The Emperor's New Groove. The characters look fantastic, you've got everyone there from Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster to Quasimodo and The Invisible Man and they're all voiced by a Happy Madison cast which includes the likes of Kevin James, David Spade and Steve Buscemi, which is kinda odd but works rather well (when they're not rapping), surprisingly. Andy Samberg voices our human representative and hits the right note just between annoying and likeable, though he does get close to reaching the former quite often. If anything, Sandler is the least on-form here: his monotone "Transylvanian" accent gets pretty tiresome to hear, pretty soon.
But when the film's funny, it's funny. Gotta give it that. A lot of its jokes hit the mark and I could see Hotel Transylvania working really well as a regular TV show, I would have certainly watched that as a series growing up. Like an Addams Family or Munsters for modern times (something to think about, TV peeps). I would rethink the whole "lets cast black people as shrunken heads" policy though, somehow that didn't quite do it for me. Call me crazy...
Those allergic to Sandler and co. should probably sit this one out but for those indifferent few, I'd say you could do a lot worse than Hotel Transylvania. For kids, it's a lot of fun and it's non-stop so younger viewers will not get bored one second. For adults, there are a few lols here and there also so I'd say overall it's a pretty decent, if not perfect, effort. What it lacks in genuine heart it makes up for in stunning visuals and silly popcorn entertainment.
Shame it tries that little bit too hard.