Adam Sandler voices an overprotective control-freak Dracula who keeps his precious daughter Mavis (voiced by tween sensation Selena Gomez) within the confines of his behemothic mansion hotel-for-monsters Transylvania. Count Dracula despises human presence for reasons revealed later in the film, and so he cautions his fellow-monsters and daughter Mavis to be wary of their presence. On Mavis' 118th birthday, Count calls everybody to his abode and arranges for a party. Mavis' ultimate desire is to leave the palace and meet humans and she makes this birthday wish to her dad. Even though the wish is granted with conditions, Dracula has a back-up plan to get her back to him and keep her in control. All goes smoothly until an actual human named Jonathan (voiced by SNL regular Andy Samberg) checks in. Predictably, Jonathan and Mavis show fondness towards each other and Dracula now has to drive this human presence away before things get monster-messy.
It is one thing to make a film that appeals to three year olds, but it is completely a different thing to make a film that seems to be written by three year olds; while in Case 1 you may get a charming movie that appeals to a wide audience, especially young children while in Case 2 you get a juvenile attempt unworthy to be shown even to the youngest audiences. Unfortunately, Hotel Transylvania falls under Case B; it is a film that so desperately tries to fill in as many childish gags as possible in its scenes that neither do the characters manage to move us nor does the humor and the music groove us. While almost every Pixar film (even the massively underrated Cars and its sequel) concentrates first on its plot and character development and then the dialogs and gags, Hotel Transylvania seems as if the writers first brainstormed as many kiddy jokes they could come up with and then put in characters to mouth each gag, and finally sketched some story in the background with dull, contrived colors.
Take the first half of the movie: almost half of it is spent on introducing the various monsters and in many many many unfunny jokes. Once Jonathan arrives and explores the hotel along with the Count, we get nothing more than Jonathan trying to show what 'cool' is, hence more more more derivative jokes and situations. Characters keep tumbling in and out and the jokes really do not have anything to do with the main plot. Part two is not much different except for the development of the oversweet romance between Mavis and Jonathan and everything-going-wrong- to-be-set-right-by-the-main character situation. There also is a rap performance by our Count Dracula and vocal presence of singer Will.i.am which is really an emasculation-of-everything-worth-living-for-in-this- world terrible.
Generally, I stay away from Adam Sandler and Eddy Murphy's movies because of their dicey reputation. I liked what I watched of Sandler's 50 first dates and Murphy's Beverley Hill Cop is a classic, but some of the recent outputs have notorious critical ratings and mixed audience opinions. Sandler only puts on a cheap accent and tries sounding as if the dialogs are actually funny, which is a very difficult task. Gomez is what Mavis or any cute-young-female-protagonist would sound like, therefore banal and I think animated film-makers should bring in unique voices for characters (Miley Cyrus' slightly hoarse voice worked in Bolt). Andy Samberg again has a voice suiting his character but what can he do without a good script or a skit? My advice: stick to R-rated D*** in A Box Part 2 with Timberlake and other such skits on SNL and not-to-forget more wicked Lonely Island albums instead of future collaborations with Sandler.
A truly horrible decision (and one that really infuriated me) was putting that auto-tune Will.i.am bummer. While none of the other songs are worth any mention, Will.i.am's recent nasal exploitations stand out the most for all the wrong reasons. B.E.P did a wonderful job on their unfairly underrated incredibly catchy The E.N.D, but they went overboard with their auto-tune on their next album, the unlistenable The Beginning. The group is on a hiatus, and its lead male member Will.i.am is now working on his fourth album and some collaborations that again range from unmemorable (the David Guetta track) to obnoxious (Scream & Shout) to simply painful (This Is Love). His songs may be hits in clubs where there is a medley of crappy songs played at full volume and the only thing teenagers do is trying to outdo each other's dancing, but all the flavor is gone when these tracks are listened to as standalones – the heavy auto-tune and electronic beats smelling like burnt CDs. I know my rant above deviates from the movie but Will.i.am needs to stop messing up his music for want of money.
The 3-D in Hotel Transylvania works not to great effect as the colors used in the film are mainly dark in shades like black, brown, grey, and dull white. Once they are screened in 3-D they get duller to a greater extent than colors like sky blue and bright red and yellow. A similar problem happened, but to a greater extent while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly-Hallows 2 where I felt I could have enjoyed the movie a lot more without the blasted 3-D (my city doesn't have a 2-D option for those not wanting 3-D). But the 3-D glasses had one benefit: I could figure out how much the film exasperated me by counting the number of times I took off my glasses and set them aside during the film.
Adults, please take your kids for an upcoming Pixar film which has a higher probability of being good, and kids, please tell any of your parents not to take you for a film like Hotel Transylvania. Spend it on education
or better films.