Hotel Transylvania

Look, they're smiling with their mouths hanging open! That must mean this film is funny, right?

Look, they’re smiling with their mouths hanging open! That must mean this film is funny, right?

Okay, people, reviewing this movie, I feel, is a necessity for this blog. After all, this is a blog for reviewing horror and cartoons and horror cartoons, and Hotel Transylvania is a horror cartoon movie – one of three released in 2012 – so it belongs here. I told myself I wouldn’t watch it when it came out, but when it was released on DVD, it sung a siren song, begging me to look at it, begging me to review it. Hell, one or two of my acquaintances had recommended the movie to me. ‘I’ve screwed up your favourite books,’ the movie was saying, ‘Come at me, bro.’

Yes, Hotel Transylvania is based on some of my favourite books, specifically Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and dominantly, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, Dracula has appeared in seven squillion movies thus far, more than any literary character except for Sherlock Holmes (and oh look). It seems pretty odd, really, considering there isn’t really that much to Dracula as a character. He’s a villain that’s a villain first and foremost. He’s more a symbol than a character – I mean, you do hear people these days referring to vampires that aren’t Dracula as ‘a Dracula’. His aristocratic and slick ways do give him an intriguing allure, but he isn’t that deep a character. With the original Bram Stoker novel, it was Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray and Dr. Seward we were rooting for – Dracula was like Satan or The Dark Knight’s Joker, a personification more than a person, an obstacle given form. In the Hammer Dracula movies, Christopher Lee’s Dracula made sporadic appearances and spoke little, but his absence was used as well as his presence, making his appearances all the more special.

What I’m trying to say is, Dracula makes for a good antagonist, but it’s very hard to make him a good protagonist. Attempts to elevate him to protagonist level usually fall flat on their face. The 1992 Francis Ford Coppola version of the novel tried to give him a sympathetic backstory, but said backstory was implemented clumsily, making an already-corny movie a little cornier. Making Dracula a good guy requires pretty much having him undergo a 180, so why even use that character in the first place if this is going to be the case?

Well, because he’s recognisable. And he’s a vampire and kiddies love vampires and monsters.

So yeah, the format in which Drac is mostly portrayed as a protagonist is of course, animation. True, some cartoons, like the utterly bonkers Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, portray him as a blundering Saturday morning baddie, but then we have crap like Drak Pack which shove him in a role he doesn’t belong simply because kids know who Dracula is without having read a word from Bram Stoker. Stuff like Count Duckula works because Duckula is meant to be a different character than Dracula, but it’s just baffling to see the same character who trapped Jonathan Harker in his castle fight to protect the innocent.

So the protagonist of Hotel Transylvania is a character who doesn’t really make sense as a protagonist. This once-terrifying Count is made into a loveable goofball so he can be the star of a kiddie movie. Yeah, making serious characters goofy is a staple of comedy, but Hotel Transylvania actually wants us to take its silly Count seriously, giving him some of the tragic angsty elements of the Gary Oldman portrayal and Shelley’s Frankenstein monster. Thus the film has a very jarring, distracting tone to it. Then again, when you have Adam fucking Sandler voicing the character, you shouldn’t expect greatness.

Really, that’s the problem with Hotel Transylvania – it has all these great monsters from literature and film, and does bo-diddley-squat with them. It doesn’t truly pay tribute to them, or really make them interesting characters. It has wacky hijinx and butt jokes for the kiddies, but very little for adults. The parents watching this with their kids will likely have memories of watching Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee so you’d think the movie would throw them a bone occasionally, but nope. This is a flick made specifically for the little ones, but then again, there are elements I think even they’d find annoying. There are actually little kids who know the likes of Slenderman and Pinhead; I doubt those kids would be too fond of wacky vampires being wacky. A shame really, as this is the directorial debut of Genndy Tartakovsky, whose other animated works have entertained kids and adults alike. I’d expect better from him, but Hotel Transylvania is one of the most cookie-cutter animated features I’ve ever seen.

What is that creature, anyway? A zombie, a ghoul, a kobold?

What is that creature, anyway? A zombie, a ghoul, a kobold?

The film begins with a spooooky mist-shrouded house, while a caption tells us this is 1895. Huh, that’s about the time Dracula was written – off by two years – and the music sounds similar to the theme of Horror of Dracula too. Okay, I’ll give them props there, but they lose those props when they have Dracula approach his baby daughter saying ‘Gobbly-dee-goo-bah’ and stuff like that. Sure, there are attempts at black humour here and there, with Drac saying he’s going to bite the head off a bird and a mobile with a severed head, but it all feels a bit hollow when you have the phrase ‘I vant to kiss your tush!’ The intro is an excruciatingly cute montage of Draccy-poo playing with his baby daughter Mavis, putting on a goo-goo voice, rubbing his bad back and talking about humans stealing sweeties.

Once again, who is this dork and what has he done with Dracula? Some people speculate the three vampire women in Dracula’s castle in the book were actually his daughters, and if that’s so, then that’s way more interesting what Hotel Transylvania has to offer us. Come on guys, would you prefer ‘coochie-coochie-coo’ saccharine or babies being fed to ravenous vampire chicks?  Yeah, I know, Hotel’s Dracula is not supposed to be the Dracula Bram Stoker wrote about, but if that were the case, why not just make a new character, or at least give this guy a different name? People would still watch the movie, because hey, kids like monsters, and Sandler’s performance is bad enough without being compared to Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman. Yes, Sandler is terrible in this role; he’s trying to imiate Lugosi, but it just sounds like Jerry Lewis with a frog in his throat crossed with a kid pretending to be Dracula for Halloween.

More cuteness! Dracula sings a song to Mavis! Dracula teaches Mavis how to fly! Cute! CUUUTE! Just for fun, imagine Dracula in these scenes replaced by another literary villain like Hannibal Lecter, Bob Ewell or Nurse Ratched. It would be pretty stupid and kinda disturbing to watch, wouldn’t it? If it was presented as a joke it would be kinda acceptable, but once again, we’re supposed to take this pussified Lord of Darkness seriously.

Anyway, Drac has had a hotel built so monsters have asylum and to keep Mavis safe. The contractor says that only monsters will be able to get in because the hotel is beyond a haunted forest and a zombie-infested graveyard, so humans would be too scared to enter. All fine and dandy, except it will later be revealed monsters are scared of humans, and Drac thinks all humans want to kill monsters, so putting a lot of monsters in front of the hotel should really do shit. Also, zombies being the hotel’s constructors, and later the bellhops and staff, is a cute gag, considering how brainless and subservient zombies are in monster movies. Part of me wonders if this was done to reference White Zombie, which Bela Lugosi starred in, but that would be giving this movie too much credit.

Cut to present day. Hotel Transylvania is open for business again, and tonnes of monsters are swarming towards it. A hearse pulls up, and it’s driven by none other than Jack Pumpkinhead. Geez, poor guy, this is the best work he can get after Return to Oz underperformed. Also, HALLELUJAH! The hearse contains a family of werewolves and the patriarch, Wayne, is voiced by Steve Buscemi. Ah, Steve, saviour of kiddie monster movies. Monsters Inc. wouldn’t have been the same without his Randall, and Igor would have sucked even more without his Scamper. Needless to say, he’s the best performance in this whole movie (You can actually imagine him playing a werewolf in a more “serious” movie, which gives him an edge over Sandler).

Dracula welcomes his guests as a bunch of Corpse Bride rejects play a song, and explains that his daughter’s birthday is coming up. Too bad it’s not her wedding because then Dracula would be willing to fulfil monsters’ requests, and the Headless Horseman would end up with his steed’s head in his bed (which isn’t too different from normal, mind).

Did I mention this movie has a lot of toilet humour? A toilet gets clogged up because Bigfoot took a shit in one. The werewolf kids run rampant and piss everywhere. Yes, they do lift their legs like a dog. That’s all they have to say about werewolves; they’re canines. Thanks, I didn’t know that. I’m going to hate myself for saying this, but fucking Van Helsing utilised its monster crossover better. It acknowledged what each of the famous Universal/Hammer monsters represented – Dracula is pure evil, Frankenstein’s Monster is a misunderstood abomination of God and werewolves are an internal struggle with man and beast – and used them for its silly story. In Hotel, the monsters are just the wacky group of characters you’d see in any kids movie, except undead.

Turns out Drac and Wayne are old buddies –okay, it is refreshing to see a vampire and werewolf not have a pointless feud for once – and Drac calls his housekeeping staff to take care of Wayne’s unholy offspring. The housekeeping staff are witches with pointed hats and brooms…wait, witches are monsters? They are servants of Satan, sure, but they’re still human. That’s right, Hotel Transylvania isn’t human-free after all!

Oh, and there’s a really…um…um…a witch uses a sponge on one of the werewolf’s piss…and…and…that sponge is alive…and…HAPPY…that he’s soaking up lycanthrope urine. HE’S HAPPY THAT HE’S SOAKING UP WEREWOLF PEE-PEE. TOO HAPPY. HE’S LAUGHING AND EVERYTHING.

WHAT THE FUCK. Thanks for ruining Spongebob for me, movie.

Then comes the obligatory appearance of Frankenstein’s monster (Kevin James). He always appears in cartoons like this, but it’s odd that he’s appearing, considering how this movie makes their Dracula similar to Frankenstein’s monster. Yes, Frankenstein’s monster appears in this movie, but it’s Dracula who has traumatic memories of being chased by angry villagers with torches and pitchforks, and who wants to be safe with his own kind. The Frankenstein’s monster here isn’t the one from Shelley’s novel though, it’s the goofy one you see so often in cartoons who is just called ‘Frankenstein’ and can take himself apart like a fucking crash dummy.

The Invisible Man (David Spade) also arrives…THE INVISIBLE MAN IS NOT A FUCKING MONSTER.  He’s a human, he’s just invisible. See, Drac, your hotel is far from human-free. A Mr. Hyde would have made more sense, even if his films were made by MGM rather than Universal. Also, the Mummy (Cee Lo Green) appears from a pile of sand, and his announcement of ‘HERE COMES THE PARTY’ feels like horrible foreshadowing for the rest of this movie. Yeah, this movie is pretty much these monsters trying to be “fun” and “wacky”, and failing horribly. Case in point, Frankenstein manoeuvres his posterior behind the Mummy to make it look like the latter farted. Lovely.

After a rather pathetic Charlotte’s Web homage, Dracula makes an announcement about his daughter’s birthday, and also about how humans are evil. He then shows a bunch of images of humans, claiming they want to kill all the monsters and cries ‘YOU WILL NEVER WIN EVIL VILLAIN!’ to some kid. Yes, he says crap about how humans are getting fatter to overpower the monsters, and he believes every word of it.

Once again, this is Dracula. He has human helpers. He has Renfield and a bunch of gypsies working for him. He needs humans for sustenance, and uses them to help him complete his evil goals. He also knows humans too – he moved to London because he knew they didn’t believe in the supernatural and it would thus be easier to invade. Again, why not just use a new character instead of screwing up poor Dracula? He’s been through enough crap without you making him as naïve about humans as Sheldon Cooper. And if you’re going to use him, give him more to do with a plotlike this. Make him the monster version of Magneto or something.

Also, why would Dracula be afraid of humans if he’s more fucking powerful than them? In this film, he can turn into a bat, freeze people and control minds. That’s going to overpower mere torches and pitchforks, don’t you think?

UP WHERE THEY WALK UP WHERE THEY RUN

UP WHERE THEY WALK UP WHERE THEY RUN

Then we are reintroduced to Mavis, now as a teenager played by singer Selena Gomez. Fun fact, she was originally supposed to be played by Miley frickin’ Cyrus. Yes, that’s what we’re dealing with here. The offspring of one of the most terrifying beings in Gothic literature was supposed to be played by Miley Cyrus. That’s like making an adaptation of The Shining with the Olsen twins as the Grady girls. And yes, she’s the annoying ‘But Daaaad’ teenage girl we’re all tired of.

Dracula goes to her room, and passes by several talking shrunken heads. Wait, the movie’s message is that monsters are really great guys and aren’t evil, yet here they are, resurrecting shrunken heads and forcing them into menial labour without their bodies. Anyway, it’s Mavis’ 118th birthday, which is treated as the vampire equivalent of her 18th, which just makes me imagine her being a baby for an entire century. Still think it’s kinda weird seeing a vampire grow from a baby into a teenager due to Interview with the Vampire and the like. And it’s weird vampires giving birth at all, since their sperm would likely be dead. Maybe this movie would be more interesting if it was later revealed that Mavis was a human Dracula adopted and turned into a vampire, but I doubt it.

For her 118th, Mavis wants to go out into the world since she’s been locked up in Drac’s castle her whole afterlife. She’s thin for someone who’s never been out, but whatever. She talks about how she needs somebody her age blah blah blah, and she reuses a gag from Shrek that was annoying when it was used there. Really, this movie is just a checklist of elements from other animated movies. Protagonist is a monster that wants solitude from the world? Shrek. Monsters are scared of humans? Monsters Inc. Famous character is shoved into the role of a concerned father even though it doesn’t suit the character? A Goofy Movie.

Drac tells her she can go to a village and Mavis is ecstatic. She goes there, but unbeknownst to her, the village is actually a fake one constructed by Dracula where all the “humans” are just zombies in disguise. OK, traumatising your daughter like this is pretty evil, so maybe this Dracula does have something in common with Stoker’s. Good thing Mavis led a sheltered life so she doesn’t know these rotting shambling corpses with wooden masks who set themselves on fire aren’t zombies. What’s odd about this sequence is that sometimes the zombies’ masks look like flimsy wood and sometimes they look like flesh. What, were the masks made of supernatural material? Were they carved from the same tree Pinocchio was?

He's like the ungodly fusion of Jimmy Olsen and Carrot Top.

He’s like the ungodly fusion of Jimmy Olsen and Carrot Top.

So Mavis is disillusioned with the human race – the feeling is mutual after watching this film – and Dracula can continue keeping her a shut-in. Or can he? Minutes after his charade, a human arrives at the hotel, and this triggers Dracula’s angry villager-related PTSD. He leaps onto the human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), and asks how he found the hotel. Apparently, Johnny-boy heard about the spooky forest and decided to go exploring it. Wait, what happened to the ghosts and zombies? Weren’t they supposed to be helping guard the place? Oh yeah, John sees the zombies after they pretend to be villagers and followed them to the castle. Wow, he sees a bunch of people on fire, and his first instinct is to quietly follow them and do nothing about the fact they’re on fire? And if he was that close to them, wouldn’t he have noticed they were freaking living corpses?

Now, Dracula hates humans and sees them as cold-hearted murderers, so you’d think he’d be a bit more hostile towards Jonathan, instead of just quietly listening to his story, and sneaking him around the hotel like a child hiding a stray animal. He brings Jonathan to a closet and begins to ponder what to do with him. Also, he screams and shrieks wildly as he believes Jonathan is planning to control his mind or some shit, and it’s not, you know, funny. AAAH IT’S TAKING MY SOUL, he screams, hoping the kiddies will laugh at what a fucktard he is.

What to do with Johnny? You could kill him. Oh wait, that would ‘set monsters back’. I forgot this Dracula was a pussy. Anyway, Drac dresses up Johnny as a Frankenstein thing and tries to get him out that way. We’re also introduced to Drac’s cook Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz). QUASIMODO IS NOT A MONSTER YOU PEOPLE. What, just because he has a weird back, he’s instantly a monster? Hell, his fucking name means “almost human”. Unlike most portrayals of Victor Hugo’s character, the only thing deformed about this version of Quasimodo is his hump. Other than that, he’s just a normal, if ugly, person.

Jonathan goes off on his own and puts his hand through a female skeleton, to the displeasure of her husband. Oh, that’s real nice. John then realises the monsters are real, and runs around screaming. There you go, he’ll run out, and since he acts like he’s stoned all the time, no-one will believe him about the hotel. Problem solves itself. But since this is a wacky kids film, we have to have him dart about shrieking and have him bump into Mavis, since yes, these two are going to be a couple.

Now Drac could just have John run away in horror, but instead he brings the kid to a bedroom where Drac reveals that HE DOESN’T DRINK BLOOD. Nooo, gone are the days of him lurking over the beds of young maidens. He drinks Tru Bl…I mean “Near Blood”. Greeeat. Why the fuck didn’t they make their own character if this what they were going to do, god. Drac tries to fly Jonathan out, but Mavis appears, because she felt a “zing”. Yes, that’s a running theme in this movie. The “zing”. It’s like “Hakuna Matata” only more annoying. Also, Jonathan asks if Mavis had any clothes on if she was a bat. LOOOVELY.

Drac tells Mavis Jonathan is a party-planner and then tries to get Jonathan to leave by taking him through some secret catacombs. Also, they walk in on two bugs presumably having sex and that skeleton woman taking a shower. Yeah, the movie is so pathetic, it’s cribbing jokes from fucking Goosebumps:  Escape from Horrorland. Why would Dracula even have a secret passage built near a shower…wow, maybe this Dracula is more evil than I give him credit for.

"I'm childish and annoying! That makes me cool, right?"

“I’m childish and annoying! That makes me cool, right?”

Another wrong turn and Dracula and Jonathan end up with Frankenstein, the Mummy and Wayne. They want to practice a number but the zombies of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are hogging the bandstand. OK, pause. If Dracula hates humans so much and thinks they’re all evil, why does he warm up to creatures that were originally human? What, do humans instantly stop being evil when they become a zombie or a ghost, I dunno. Anyway, Jonathan helps them with their act, and he instantly makes it all cool and new and shit and everyone in the hotel instantly loves him.

Oh fuck. Oh fuck no.

I fucking hate the “young groovy guy teaches old fogeys to have fun” cliché. Hate hate hate. Here we have some annoying twat who makes silly noises and does obnoxious COOL DUDE things like play guitar and surf and everyone acts like he’s the bee’s knees. The only time I can think of where this really worked was Pleasantville, and there the characters were helping the old-time sitcom guys actually grow the fuck up. Most of the time, we have an immature person trying to make mature people as immature as he is and the mature people couldn’t be happier. It’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy for children and manchildren alike, because you know, grown-ups are boooring. Kids and immature people annoy adults with their childishness, so they like to comfort themselves by thinking if only everyone was as childish as them, they’d be happy. Jonathan is the embodiment of this train of thought. Really, I’d prefer this John to come to the hotel:

tumblr_mnvytlF4Xl1qz8z2ro1_500

Dracula makes everyone play bingo and charades, and you know, those are games ooold people like. They’re uncool, man. But Johnny livens things up with his AWESOME and RAD scooter moves, and suddenly he’s Randall fucking McMurphy, trying to help the monsters to LIVE.

Then we have a bunch of the monsters at the hotel pool. You guys are lucky Commando isn’t here to bless the pool and kill you all. All the monsters are listening to Jonathan’s stories of his travels, and they think he’s awesome, then he goes into the pool and has a grand old time with the other guests. Wow, this movie is pretty much just a big party. It’s more a movie version of The Monster Mash then The Monster Mash.

UUUUH these ooold people are sooo boring! They play Bingo and knit! I'm cool 'cause I make an ass of myself!

UUUUH these ooold people are sooo boring! They play Bingo and knit! I’m cool ’cause I make an ass of myself!

Drac takes Jonathan to a graveyard, and tries to hypnotise him into forgetting the place and leaving. Um yeah, if you can control people’s minds, you could have tried doing that earlier when Jonathan first arrived. Oh, but it doesn’t work on Johnny, ‘cause, get this, he has contacts! Ho! Drac finds it disgusting, giving Sandler another excuse to shriek into the microphone like a howler monkey. Nonetheless, Johnny leaves in a huff, but then has a “romantic” moment with Mavis where they watch the sunrise from the castle roof. Oh yeah, here we learn sunlight burns vampires even though Dracula could walk in it fine in the original novel.

Spot from The Munsters is seen warming up a sauna where Drac and friends are, where we learn the Invisible Man has red curly hair. Ginger pride, I guess. Johnny falls in, and Drac is stuck with him again. Oh, more misunderstanding and annoying Dracula crap. Huzz-fucking-zah.  Drac has Jonathan help him set up tables, oh yeah, and later uses his magic vampire powers to put Jonathan in a time-out, complete with thumb-sucking.

Turns out the tables can float, because ghosts are the tablecloths. Oh wow. Being forced to walk the earth due to unfinished business is bad enough, but being forced into being fucking tablecloths? Having ravenous creatures eat off you will help you enter the Great Beyond? Dracula treats the monsters better than humans how exactly?

Also, Drac and John chase each other on the tables for some reason…oh, the “reason” is for more “Dracula learns what fun is” shit. Also, Quasimodo is sneaking about because he knows Jonathan is a human and wants to eat him. Dude, aren’t you supposed to be snuggling with the corpse of your crush? And yes, Quasi is kind of “the villain” of this piece. Wow, you make an evil vampire good, and a misunderstood deformed human evil. Maybe that’s the point, but Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t evil in the book and he isn’t evil here. Quasimodo steals Jonathan, and Dracula tries to stop him in an awkward sequence that only serves to prolong the runtime. Dracula sends all these suits of armour and gargoyles and yet they are all defeated by this offensive French stereotype midget. Maybe he was right to fear the angry villagers. Also, Quasi shakes his ass at the armours and gargoyles when he escapes…God, what is with this movie and monsters’ asses? I think AND THEN A SKELETON POPPED OUT is a better spooky story than this movie if only because the skeleton’s posterior wasn’t described.

After a HEARTFELT TALK ™ between Drac and Mave, Drac goes down to the kitchen and saves John from Quasi by using his magic to freeze Quasi. As if we needed more proof this movie was immature, a gargoyle appears and shoves Quasi’s finger in his nose. Hardy ha. Why stop there? Why not put his hand down his trousers or draw dicks on his face?

Oh great, time for The Serious Bit. Drac takes John to a room with a picture of Drac’s dead wife. John has heard of Drac’s wife and says some pseudo-poetic shit that sounds even more wooden and unnatural coming from his goofy face and voice. Drac explains his wife was killed by humans burning down his house and…and he says ‘humans are the real monsters’. Seriously? Seriously? It’s bad enough hearing that creaky old phrase in horror stories meant for adults. Drac’s wife was a vampire too, so couldn’t she have turned into a bat to escape the fire or if zombies can survive fire, surely vampires can too. Legend says that stake through the heart is the only sure way to kill them after all.

Drac likes John now, so he lets him help him set up Mavis’ birthday party again, along with all the other monsters. Yes, Drac gives all the guests a wake-up call to come to the party, and we get another scene with Wayne. Always good to have more Buscemi.

Then comes the party scene which is a U-Rated version of a nightclub. Also ‘Sexy And I Know It’ is playing in the background, just without the lyrics, ‘cause you know, kids’ film. It’s also the big revelation scene where Jonathan and Mavis kiss, Drac reveals he faked the village and Jonathan is exposed as human. There’s the clichéd dialogue you’d expect from a scene like this:

‘If something happened to you, I couldn’t live with myself.’
‘I did what I had to do.’
‘I still want to be with you.’

Oh, and Johnny storms out, and we have the obligatory scene where Mavis yells at her dad and everyone gives Drac frosty looks. Drac does nothing but hang his head and look sad. Yes, we are actually supposed to take this joke of a Dracula seriously. A once-frightening tyrant become a big fluffy teddy bear and we’re supposed to emphasise with him. Dracula later finds Mavis on the roof of the castle, reading a book her mother wrote, which is about that fucking zing crap. Really, zing sounds stupid, especially in the world of Bram Stoker, stop talking about it.

The monsters all decide to leave and Dracula tries to give another speech with more fucking cliché lines like ‘I know I lied, I was wrong.’ That’s as iconic as ‘Children of the night, what music they make,’ isn’t it? Then Frankenstein, Mummy, Invisible Man and Wayne decide they like Jonathan again and decide to help Drac go to the airport to get John back. Oh yes, and as they drive off on their hearse, Wayne sticks his head out the window, ‘cause he’s a werewolf and werewolves are like dogs.

They find one of Jonathan’s old shirts and thus we get another scene with those fucking werewolf kids, because they were so adorable the first time they appeared. Also, we get another butt joke, this time about Wayne’s butt (and he has no tail, weird). His daughter is the only obedient kid, and, Sherlock-style, deduces where Jonathan is headed. Later, there’s some sheep on the road and Wayne eats them. Um, okay. I guess they know Buscemi is really the only one trying here so they’re giving his character all the jokes.

Also, they approach a town and find out they’re having a “Monster Festival”, where a bunch of people are dressing up as monsters and stuff. Kinda coincidental it should happen today, though. I know the real Transylvania embraces its Dracula connections for its economy, but this reminds me of when movies set in China will always have a Chinese New Year and movies set in Brazil will have Carnival. Yeah, this is basically Dracula learning that not all humans are bad and yadda yadda, but it’s actually a cute nod to how monsters are embraced today. It makes you wonder though; do Dracula movies exist in this universe? If so, can Drac sue for defamation of character? Does Bram Stoker exist in this world? Mary Shelley?

Well, if Dracula movies exist, then most of them portray Drac as evil. So when these monster fans find out Dracula is the “real” Dracula, they should be heading for the hills or sharpening their stakes. I like the Joker as a character, but if he were real, I sure as hell wouldn’t help him murder thousands. Still, when the monster fans are convinced Dracula is a real vampire, they help protect him from the sunlight so he doesn’t have to rely on a sombrero. Let’s give a moment of thanks to Nosferatu otherwise this plot point wouldn’t be possible.

We’re basically watching Not Another Teen Movie re-enacted by monsters only played kinda straight, so Drac runs to the airport and flies up to the airplane, crumbling all the way. Being Human had a scene like this, where a vampire entered a house without being invited, and that was way better. Also, they make a joke about Twilight, which given how they’ve treated Dracula is pretty hypocritical. Oh, Twilight made vampires pussies? Pot to kettle, pot to kettle.

Drac brings Jonathan back, and we have the bane of animated cinema, the dance party ending. For one last facepalm, we have Dracula rapping. Yes, this movie has the novelty and entertainment value of a Halloween animated toy.

Jesus, this was probably the most by-the-numbers animated film I have ever watched. Like all non-Pixar animated film, this followed the Shrek template to the letter. You know, grumpy guy keeps to himself until he meets a goofy guy. Grumpy Guy is annoyed with Goofy Guy until Goofy Guy teaches Grumpy Guy to have fun. They have a big adventure and Grumpy Guy gets a new lease on life and becomes best buddies with Goofy Guy.  In Shrek, Shrek was Grumpy Guy and Donkey was Goofy Guy. In Open Season, Boog was Grumpy Guy and Elliot was Goofy Guy. Gru was Grumpy Guy and his three adopted daughters were Goofy Guy. Dracula was Grumpy Guy and Jonathan was Goofy Guy.

And there was really no need to specifically involve the Universal Monsters. You could have had a new vampire make a hotel for monsters and nothing would have been changed. Maybe Jonathan was named after Jonathan Harker, but that doesn’t matter a fig. I said before that Dracula was something of a cypher, but Hotel’s Dracula still has little to do with the character Stoker created and doesn’t even work as a parody.

I daresay there was even some potential. Early synopsises for the movie had the main human be “Simon Van Helsing”, a monster hunter, and his love for Mavis would be more Romeo and Juliet. That would have been interesting. Even the thing with the monster fans could have been done better; what if Jonathan, after being told to leave by Dracula, told everyone about the castle and Dracula had to deal with a whole bunch of humans taking pictures and demanding autographs? Maybe Jonathan wants to be a vampire and would ask Mavis to suck his blood? Oh well, maybe they’re saving that for the sequel (yes, a sequel has been announced).

The main problem with this movie is that whatever it has has been done better elsewhere. You want an animated movie about monsters scared of humans? Watch Monsters Inc. You want a monster crossover film? Watch Cabin in the Woods. You want a goofy Dracula? Watch Dracula: Dead and Loving It. I haven’t seen the other two spooky 2012 CGI movies – Frankenweenie and Paranorman – but they’re sure to be better than this shit.

Images from Google

About jabberw

A writer of short stories and reviews, who likes to dabble in other creative media as well.
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6 Responses to Hotel Transylvania

  1. armadillorex says:

    He put off a Samurai Jack finale movie for THIS? Shame on you Gendy!

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  4. Victoria Salter says:

    No, I quite enjoyed this film really. I love the whole “misunderstood vampire” thing and I found this quite light-hearted. It is a children’s film, after all. Kids do not normally truly know what the old Dracula character is like anyway.

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