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Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania

September 28, 2012

Hotel Transylvania – A Sony Pictures’ Release

Release Date: September 28th, 2012

Rated PG for some scary scenes and crude humour

Running time: 91 minutes

Genndy Tartakovsky (dir.)

Peter Baynham (screenplay)

Robert Smigel (screenplay)

Mark Mothersbaugh (music)

Adam Sandler as Dracula (voice)

Andy Samberg as Jonathan (voice)

Selena Gomez as Mavis (voice)

Kevin James as Frankenstein (voice)

Fran Drescher as Eunice (voice)

Steve Buscemi as Wayne (voice)

Molly Shannon as Wanda (voice)

David Spade as Griffin (voice)

Cee Lo Green as Murray (voice)

Jon Lovitz as Quasimodo (voice)

©Sony Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Mavis (Selena Gomez), Dracula (Adam Sandler) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) in Hotel Transylvania.

Our reviews below:


Hotel Transylvania Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Director Genndy Tartakovsky makes his big screen debut with Hotel Transylvania, a very funny animated film with an all star voice cast that has a lot of fun paying homage to numerous classic movie monsters.  Anyone who is amused by the unseen sight of the Invisible Man playing charades is sure to get a kick out of checking into the film.

Back in 1895, Dracula (Adam Sandler) built Hotel Transylvania so that he could keep his precious daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) safe from the “evil” humans.  But at 118, Mavis wants to actually see the world and everything is about to change when a human tourist named Johnny (Andy Samberg) ends up at the monsters only hotel.  The only problem is that the other monsters, including Frankenstein (Kevin James), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), Murray the Mummy (Cee Lo Green) and a family man wolf named Wayne (Steve Buscemi), are all terrified of people.  Life lessons and lots of laugh out loud scenes ultimately ensue.

Frequently hilarious and sometimes totally ridiculous, Hotel Transylvania is a purely entertaining animated film that also manages to have a heart beneath all of the infectious manic energy, as well as a sweet romance between Mavis and Johnny.  I first saw the film when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, with a great crowd that shared their enthusiasm through thunderous applause.  With excellent 3D animation, a strong voice cast and lots of laughs, Hotel Transylvania is a ton of fun and should be a huge hit with audiences of all ages.


Hotel Transylvania Review by Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

In 1898 Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the Hotel Transylvania as a safe-haven from humans for all monsters – and for him to raise his own daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) without having to worry about the outside world bothering them.  Mavis is curious about the outside world though and wants to leave the castle, much to Dracula’s dismay, and as she approaches 118 she wants to be able to.  Every year all of their monster friends (Frankenstein [Kevin James], Wayne the Wolf [Steve Buscemi], Bigfoot, etc.) come to celebrate Mavis’ birthday, but on the eve of her 118th birthday, an unexpected guest arrives – hyper backpacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg), who is a… human.  What’s worse is that Mavis seems to really ‘like’ him.

All of the characters are really likable and relatable here, and the voice cast is impeccable.  The story is surprisingly sweet and quite funny as well.  The script is really well written with many great and memorable lines and gags.  The animation and music are also very well done and the whole film is just a treat to watch.

I first saw Hotel Transylvania during TIFF at the Princess of Wales theatre, a venue that strangely really fit the film and helped make an experience which turned out to be one of the best of the festival.  The first time I saw the film was in 3D, the second in 2D – both played well, and although there are a few scenes that are quite cool with the added dimension, the film is just as fun without it.

Whether I am in the minority or not, seeing the film again just three weeks later I must note that I still loved it – it is truly a hilarious film with something for all ages, quite a bit of heart, and ample visuals with every shot filled with stuff happening both in the foreground and background.  Hotel Transylvania is definitely one worth seeing.


Hotel Transylvania Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

There have been many stories about Count Dracula and other immortal beings over the years.  In Hotel Transylvania, we find out that Dracula (Adam Sandler) is a caring single dad to Mavis (Selena Gomez), and he will do everything he needs to protect her.  Back in 1895, a terrible event caused him to fear humans, which led him to build a castle as a fortress against humankind.  The castle has become a refuge and hotel for monsters such as Frankenstein (Kevin James) who keeps falling apart, the mummy (Cee Lo Green), the Invisible Man (David Spade) as well as a family of talking wolves who, due to their lupine nature, want to avoid humans.

But not everyone is happy at the castle.  Mavis is turning 118 (18 in vampire years) and really wants to see the world, much to her father’s fear.  Things get really interesting when a 21 year old human man named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) arrives at Dracula’s castle, and falls for Mavis.  The feelings are mutual, much to Dracula’s dismay, who tries to boot Jonathan out while keeping his humanity a secret.  What will happen when the secret gets out?

Hotel Transylvania is funny, charming and full of heart.  It doesn’t get much scarier for kids than Monsters, Inc. and Sesame Street‘s The Count, save for a few brief moments and some emotional or atmospheric scenes, which may scare the very young.  The characters are complex, relatable and loveable in the quirkiest of ways.  Anyone who is “different” will especially relate to Dracula and the other monsters fear of societal rejection as well as Mavis’ need for freedom.

As a wolf lover, I really loved Wayne (Steve Buscemi), the overtired father of several dozen hyperactive puppies.  His pregnant wife Wanda (Molly Shannon) is just as overworked as he is.  I also loved when Dracula and Mavis would transform into adorable little bats, hence their diet of mosquitoes, frogs and mice.  They are not vampire bats.  Contrary to popular belief, they never drink blood, as it is “too fatty and you never know where it’s been.”  To quench his thirst, Dracula has created a synthetic blood substitute.

Hotel Transylvania is a great family movie that is sure to become a Halloween classic.


Hotel Transylvania Review by Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Humans are scary creatures.  At least that’s how Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) of Hotel Transylvania sees things.  After a tragedy in 1895 that left him a single father to an adorable baby ghoul, the Count has spent the last 118 years protecting himself, daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and an assortment of fellow monsters and creatures from the very scary humans.  Dracula transforms his remote castle into the wonderfully monster friendly Hotel Transylvania, where monsters can gather worry free.

On the occasion of Mavis’ 118th birthday, Dracula plans a special celebration with favourite guests including Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Invisible Man (David Spade), Wayne Wolf (Steve Buscemi) and his pregnant wife Wanda (Molly Shannon) as well as their brood of overactive pups.  However, Mavis has different plans.  She wants to go out and see the world beyond the castle boundaries even if it means facing Daddy’s worst nightmare – humans.  But Mavis doesn’t have to go far to meet a real live human.  When hiker Jonathan (Andy Samberg) accidentally ends up on castle property, Daddy Dracula steps in and tries hard to make sure a zing doesn’t happen between Mavis and Jonathan.  A zing, Dracula discovers, is hard to stop.

Hotel Transylvania is funny and charming, with a monster-sized heart,  The little details in this monster-friendly world make this animated feature so much fun to watch.  The scariness is minimal and their are only a few scenes when Dracula shows his angry face that might upset the under five set.  The dialogue and action is fast paced and slapstick funny with enough to appeal to grown ups and children.  This is a very family-friendly movie.

With excellent animation, memorable characters and really good voice acting, Hotel Transylvania is destined to become a Halloween favourite.


Hotel Transylvania Review by Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Hotel Transylvania is the latest Sony animated comedy starring Adam Sandler as Count Dracula. Having lost his wife to raiding humans he had the hotel built by zombies in a remote location as a refuge for his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and vacationing monsters. Staff includes cleaning witches on their brooms, the chef Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) and shrunken heads (Luenell) hanging on doors. The regular guests have assembled for Mavis’ coming of age 118th birthday, including Wayne and Wanda Wolf (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon) and their brood, the Frankensteins (Kevin James and Fran Drescher), the invisible man (David Spade) and Murray the Mummy (CeeLo Green). When the young human traveller Jonathan (Andy Samberg) wanders into the hotel, Dracula tries to hide and get rid of him but a mutual attraction between Mavis and Jonathan is inevitable.

Hotel Transylvania is lots of fun for all ages, sweet enough and not too scary for kids while full of clever gags for fans of classic horror films. The first feature directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who has a long list of credits on animated TV series, the sharply written script is well served by an excellent voice cast and the visuals are beautifully rendered both in 2D and 3D.


Consensus: Director Genndy Tartakovsky pays homage to classic movie monsters with Hotel Transylvania, a very funny animated film filled with excellent visuals and a witty script that is sure to be a hit with those of all ages.  ***1/2 (Out of 4)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Brittany Davis permalink
    December 14, 2012 12:45 pm

    This movie is mediocre at best. “ParaNorman” was way better.


  2. Brittany Davis permalink
    February 8, 2013 6:53 am

    I rented this movie from Redbox on Tuesday and I enjoyed much more than when I watched it in theater. The story may not be original, but it is one of the cutest and funniest animated movies I have ever seen. Plus, the animation, both in the movie and in the closing credits is wonderful in so many levels. Adam Sandler and Kevin James, do yourselves a favor and voice in animated films instead of live action films. No offense, but this is Adam Sandler’s BEST voice work in years.


    • February 8, 2013 11:33 am

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed it more the second time! Totally agree that this is Adam Sandler’s best work in years.

      Thanks for the update!

      -John C.


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