Thursday, September 27, 2012

‘Hotel Transylvania’

By James Colt Harrison

‘Blah, blah, blah,’ says the 3D animated Count Dracula in a parody of the original Dracula, Bela Lugosi, in Sony Pictures Animation comedy Hotel Transylvania. It’s really Adam Sandler doing his best and most hilarious impersonation of the veteran horror star.

The venerable Count has decided to branch out and open a luxury “five stake” resort for all of the world’s monsters and misfits to get away from it all and enjoy a little rest and relaxation. That includes Frankenstein (Kevin James), Frankenstein’s wife Eunice (Fran Drescher), an obese mummy (Cee Lo Green), the werewolf (Steve Buscemi), Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz), Wanda, a pregnant werewolf (Molly Shannon), the Invisible Man (David Spade), TV’s Mindy Kaling as a Skelton Wife, and a shrunken head hanging on the door (Luenell). There are other assorted monsters and aliens, much like the famous bar scene in the Star Wars epics.

The thin and simple plot, easy for kiddies to understand, revolves around Dracula’s idea to throw a huge birthday party for his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), who is celebrating her 118th birthday. Since she is a teen-ager in monster’s terms, all she wants to do is learn to use her wings as a bat and fly the coop.

A teen camper and hiker inadvertently stumbles upon the Hotel Transylvania and wants to join in on the activities. Jonathan (Andy Samberg) is young and cute and the perfect catnip for Mavis. Daddy Dracula is having a fit and is overly protective of his only little girl. What’s worse is that Jonathan is a human being and not a vampire.As a result, all sorts of funny situations pop up to give Dracula plenty of “scream time” when reacting with the other characters.

Animated pictures take a long time in development and completion. Made by Sony Pictures Animation for Columbia Pictures, the film began life in 2006. With starts and stops, the film went through a series of five different directors. Finally, in 2011, Genndy Tartakovsky was asked by the studio to direct his first feature film. He re-wrote the script and re-shaped the film into his own vision. By November 2011 the part of Mavis was cast with pop star Miley Cyrus. Other assignments conflicted with the film’s schedule, so she dropped out. It was a stroke of luck for youngster Selena Gomez because she got the part and does well as the voice of Mavis.

Although the film slows in part of its 91-minute length, other parts are lively and fun. The music enhances the enjoyment, with songs sung by Becky G. and Will I Am. The kids should love it and teens will like the contemporary take on the songs. Sony Pictures Animation/ Columbia Pictures.

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