Saturday, 6 October 2012

Film Review: "Hotel Transylvania" (2012).





"Where monsters go to get away from it all". This tagline perfectly describes Hotel Transylvania. This computer animated fantasy comedy film directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (the creator of Dexter's LaboratorySamurai Jack and Sym-Bionic Titan), and produced by Sony Pictures Animation. The film tells the story of Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter.

The film had been in development since 2006, when Anthony Stacchi and David Feiss were set to direct the film. However, later on several directors would be attached to the project after Stacchi and Feiss dropped out. In 2008, Jill Culton took over the directing position, and around 2010, Christopher Jenkins, with Todd Wilderman. In February 2011, Genndy Tartakovsky took over as the sixth director to direct his feature film debut. In less than a year, Tartakovsky rewrote the script with the help of "the Sandler camp's multiple notes" and reimagined the film to follow the energy, organicity and exaggeration of 2D animation, particularly as seen in the work of director Tex Avery. "I took all the aesthetics I like from 2-D and applied them here," Tartakovsky said. "I don't want to do animation to mimic reality. I want to push reality." "I wanted to have an imprint so you'd go, 'Well, only Genndy can make this.' It's hard, especially with CG, but I feel there's a lot of moments that feel that they're very me, so hopefully it'll feel different enough that it has a signature to it."

The film features the voice talents of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, and CeeLo Green. The cast gave hilarious performances, especially to Sandler and Samberg. Kudos to the men who were able to make me crackup laughing when they delivered the clever 'tongue-in-cheek' jokes. For Sandler, this is easily his best role since his 90s comedies such as Billy Madison (1995), Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Wedding Singer (1998). Never has he been more original and downright funny than this film.

Quirky humor, plucky characters and solid slapstick make Hotel Transylvania a frenetically great family comedy at the movies. The movie is smart, insightful on a host of relationship dynamics, and filled with fast-paced action. The animation is wonderful, full of witty sight gags that play out both center-screen and on the periphery. Enough said for the kids. For the adults, unfortunately, crazy doesn't always equal funny, and the gigantism of this 3-D offering's second half puts a damper on your enjoyment. But look: This film wasn't made for you, or me. It was made for dangerously, easily distracted 9-year-olds. In addition, the movie greatly expands on the kids' perception on monsters which it's based in a clever and engaging first half. But the second half leaves a bit of a foul aftertaste.

Simon says Hotel Transylvania receives:


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