Because of Tartakovsky’s past successes on the Cartoon Network (Samurai Jack, the original Clone Wars minisodes), I had high hopes for Hotel Transylvania. While it doesn’t hit the heights one would have expected from a man of Tartakovsky’s talents, the film is sweet and funny enough to make for a worthwhile outing. What Hotel lacks in originality, it makes up for in laughs and energy as Tartakovsky whirls his camera along corridors, rooms and lobbies.
This also marks Adam Sandler’s best film in years — here he plays Dracula as an overprotective dad trying to shield his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), from the world of people. For that reason, he has created “Hotel Transylvania,” where monsters of all sorts gather to unwind without being threatened by pitchfork-wielding humans.
Disrupting the solitude is Jonathan (Adam Samberg), an enthusiastic backpacking 21-year-old who finds the hotel and proceeds to make Dracula’s like miserable when he and Mavis first lock eyes. The screenplay mines laughs from the clash between the anal retentive Drac — who can only think when there’s silence — and Jonathan, a talkative, endlessly inquisitive dude. While there are a few scary moments, this is sort of like a monster-filled re-telling of Meet the Parents. Small touches — including airplane scene featuring an inflight showing of a Twilight-inspired film — are typical of the film’s ambition to put on a fun show. The voice talent is very good, particularly Gomez and Steve Buscemi as a werewolf trying to keep his messy brood in line.