Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hotel Transylvania (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2012)

Hotel TransylvaniaHotel Transylvania, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky from a screenplay by Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel, is an animated comedy/horror-spoof, mostly for the kids but fast-paced enough and with enough humor to keep everyone entertained for an hour and a half. It's not as smartly written as 2010's Megamind or as sophisticated and dazzling as 2011's Rango, but it is fun to watch and satisfying in a popcorn-movie kind of way. Adult fans of old horror films will like spotting some of the more obscure monsters (Brain From Planet Arous anyone?) and picking up on some references that will sail over the head of younger viewers.

The plot begins in 1895 where we find a very paternal Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) looking after his infant daughter not long after the death of his wife. Determined to keep her safe from "the humans", Dracula comes up with an idea to create a sanctuary, a place where monsters of all kinds can come to relax and be themselves without having to constantly worry about humanity coming after them with torches and pitchforks. He directs his servants to convert an old medieval castle hidden deep in the remotest part of Transylvania into a resort/retreat for monsters from all over the world, and voila! the Hotel Transylvania is born. The hotel is staffed, appropriately, by zombie bellhops, haunted suits of armor, housekeeping witches and talking shrunken heads, with a kitchen overseen by an obsessed lunatic chef Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) and his pet rat Esmeralda.

Of course the years seem to fly by for a parent, even an immortal one, and before Dracula knows it suddenly it's 2012 and the day of Mavis's 118th birthday (that's 18 in human-growth years). The castle is filled with guests, many of them old friends of the family who've come especially for the occasion, including a very domestic Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his high-bouffant wife Eunice (Fran Drescher), a life-of-the-party mummy named Murray (CeeLo Green), a very frazzled werewolf named Wayne (Steve Buscemi in superb form), his highly-pregnant wife Wanda (Molly Shannon) and their pack of snarling hyper-active wolf kids, and Griffin, the Invisible Man (David Spade) who can't understand why he sucks at playing charades.

But this is also a day Dracula has dreaded as he promised Mavis (Selena Gomez) that on the day she turned 118, she had his permission to go out into the world. Compelled to keep his word but unable to face the prospect of Mavis going off into what he feels is a world too dangerous for her, he concocts a scheme to scare her into wanting to stay at the castle. Which works, somewhat to his surprise. But his scheme turns out to have unintended consequences and before Dracula has time to feel relieved, the unthinkable happens a _human_ suddenly appears at the hotel, a young backpacker named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) who "heard about this cool old castle" and wanted to check it out. Panicking, and fearing for the reputation of his hotel if it were found out that a human was on the premises, Dracula quickly disguises Jonathan as "Johnny-stein", a supposed cousin of Frankenstein (actually just a cousin of Frankenstein's right hand, as it were). But before Dracula can get Jonathan out of the castle and out of his hair, Mavis and Jonathan meet and "zing!" it's love at first sight. The rest of the plot is rather predictable over-protective father wants to keep boy away from his daughter, but daughter and boy keep seeing each other but the pacing is kept fast enough and the humor abundant enough that it keeps things fresh and funny all the way through. Particularly in scenes where Johnny's fun-loving nature livens things up by inadvertently starting a horses-and-riders pool fight, introducing some new music over the grumbling protests of zombie-Beethoven, zombie-Mozart & zombie-Bach, and engages Dracula in a floating-table race, causing the stiff and stuffy Count to unexpectedly rediscover what fun is.

The animation, while not ground-breaking, is well done, with a lot of attention to detail which gives the film a level of texture you wouldn't ordinarily expect in a light comedy. For example, at one point Mavis leads Johnny into a cave, the entrance to which some horror aficionados will recognize is shaped like the face of the Phantom of the Opera. While Genndy Tartakovsky is well known for his work producing several successful TV animated series (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy, The Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Hotel Transylvania is his first feature film. Fans of Tartakovsky 's TV work might be expecting something more in the distinctive style he used in those shows, but I don't think they'll be disappointed with his choice to be more traditional here. The production design was done by Marcelo Vignali, who worked on several Disney films including Mulan and Lilo & Stich as well as Cloudy With Chance Of Meatballs, and the art direction was done by Ron Lukas and Noelle Triaureau, both of whom also worked with Vignali on 2007's Surf's Up.

The voice cast is excellent. Adam Sandler, whom I don't usually care for as a rule, is actually quite good as the over-protective fatherly Dracula. Andy Samberg brings out Johnny's guileless but ever-upbeat goofiness in a very winning way, while Selena Gomez brings the perfect touch as Mavis, the teenage vampire cutie who loves her dad and all his old weird friends but just wants to get out there and see the world she's only heard stories about. Kevin James does an affable Frankenstein, and Fran Drescher is perfect as his loud and brassy Franken-wife, Eunice. CeeLo Green's Murray is the liveliest and hippest mummy you've ever heard. As always though, it's Steve Buscemi who gets the best lines (or who makes his lines the best ones by his inimitably wry delivery) as the much put-upon buttoned-down-shirt-and-tie-wearing werewolf Wayne. One of my favorite scenes is where Dracula, Frank and Wayne are trying to track down Johnny. Dracula wants Wayne to follow his scent, and Wayne can only sigh wearily and ask "Do you have _any_ idea what years of changing poopy diapers have done to this nose?"

Recommended as a fun enjoyable film for everyone and in particular for classic horror-film fans.

Hotel Transylvania was a really good cartoon movie. The movie is about a young vampire girl Mavis (Selena Gomez) who wants to go out and explore the world. Her over protective father Dracula (Adam Sandler) does not want his young daughter to go out and mingle with humans. He beleives that humans do not like vampires and will try to hurt her but he did tell her that when she turned 118, she could go. The movie centers around Mavis's 118th birthday and her party. All of her monster friends and relatives come to celebrate and they have an unexpected guest.....a human. Mavis falls for the human and the rest as they say, is history. The movie was cute and age appropriate. I took my 5 year old to see this and did not cringe once. She laughed her little head off. I would see it again anytime. I hope you find your Zing!

Buy Hotel Transylvania (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2012) Now

What a fun and heartfelt film Hotel Transylvania was when I recently attended a screening whereby producer Michelle Murdocca (Open Season 2, Stuart Little) explained, "Executive producer and star, Adam Sandler did an amazing job joining this production late in its original inception. It took some 10 years to get this project in theatres," who herself was on the project from the beginning.

Russian born director Genndy Tartakovsky (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) says, "It was a fun an amazing challenge to get this going and it was a real different environment working with a larger studio." His attention to the details made this film work from page to screen.

The story centers around a place where all monsters can go to be themselves. Naturally walking around, celebrating anniversaries, eating as they do, sleeping the way they do, even swimming in pools and enjoying a night of fun and partying. The place (a really creepy castle) was built by Dracula himself (voiced amazingly well by Adam Sandler (Click, Bedtime Stories)) and because of an early accident due to the fear that monsters have toward humans, a tragic accident leaves him to be a single father. Raising and `protecting' his daughter from the outside world.

Mavis, his daughter, who is sharply voiced by Selena Gomez (The Wizards of Waverly Place, Another Cinderella Story) reaches her 118th birthday and decides she needs to see the world because of the sheltered life her father has created for her. Due to a series of mishaps and bad turn of events a `lie' goes very wrong and she soon realizes what she has been hidden from.

In steps a real human, quite by accident, Jonathan, played by Andy Samberg (SNL, That's My Boy), wanders his way into the hotel. Yet another lie, Dracula tries to cover his true human self and pass Jonathan off as a `real' monster. Another thing that Dracula didn't see coming was the moment that Mavis and Jonathan meet and their eyes connect, you guessed it, the real magic of the heart happens.

The screenplay by Peter Baynham (Borat, Bruno) and Robert Smigel (SNL, You Don't Mess With The Zohan) does something that most live-action screenplays try to achieve but never do, it mixes some great fast paced visual gags with a real heart and real believable story. This movie is about a father and daughter relationship as well as misconceptions we all carry with us based on really never checking things out for ourselves.

This film has a great line-up of really hysterical characters including; Frankenstein voiced by Kevin James (King of Queens, Hitch); Mrs. Frankenstein Wanda voiced by Molly Shannon (Superstar, Analyze This); The Wolfman Wayne voiced by Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, Grown-Ups) and his wife Eunice voiced by Fran Drescher (The Nanny, Beautician and the Beast); The Mummy Murray voiced by CeeLo Green (Kung Fu Panda, Kick Ass) and playing the hunchback Quasimodo is the voice of Jon Lovitz (Big, A League of Their Own).

Great for the Halloween theme and in full 3-D, this film was amazingly funny, and full of great classic-style sight gags that you'll probably need to see it more than once to catch them all. "I took a lot of time to make sure this film worked on all levels. From the script to the performances and even the technology in making it," says the director Genndy . And you can really see it on screen!

What makes this animated feature by Columbia Pictures so good, is that it has a very big heart and an extremely relatable story to go with it. The whole family will really enjoy this film!

Read Best Reviews of Hotel Transylvania (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2012) Here

Hotel Transylvania has Dracula (Adam Sandler) as a peaceful monster who just wants a place for him and his monster buddies to have away from humans. So he turns his castle into a hotel. But eventhough Dracula wants to keep everyone inside and safe from angry mobs, his vampire daughter (Selina Gomez) wants to get out and explore the world.

Dracula wants his daughter to think humans are all bad but when a harmless fun loving human (Andy Sanberg) wanders to the castle, Dracula tries to disguise him as a monster and sneak him out quickly. That doesn't go well since he meets Dracula's daughter and they hit it off without her knowing he's a human.

The film may sound more like Hotel Happy Madison, since you have Sandler and his buddies like Kevin James (Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (The Woofman) and the David Spade (The Invisibleman) doing voice work. However the film is better than most of their live action films and has much more of a plot than Grown-Ups did. I do admit though that it's not laugh out loud funny and that it mostly won me over with it's charm.

Want Hotel Transylvania (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2012) Discount?

there are some good laughs here, but the plot is predictable and full of unnecessary holes, the voice acting is basically a list of cameos from big name comedy with only Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg standing out with any real character.

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