Hotel Transylvania is a star vehicle for Adam Sandler but don’t let that put you off. Its the best kind of Adam Sandler film there is – one where you don’t have to look at Adam Sandler. Adam flamboyantly voices the unfairly maligned Count Dracula, a doting single Dad who only wants to protect his daughter Mavis from the cruel and vicious human world. He builds the Hotel Transylvania in the midst of a “spooky” forest as the ultimate sanctuary for Mavis and the whole of monster kind. Its a place where the freakish and spooky can unwind, undisturbed by those pesky, lynch mobbing, pitch fork wielding humans.
On the eve of Mavis’ 118th birthday, Drac gathers a motley crew of his nearest and dearest including the Frankensteins, Wayne the werewolf and his litter, Murry the Mummy and Griffin the Invisible man, to throw an almighty monster mash. Meanwhile Mavis has ideas of her own. She is desperate to escape the cloisters of the hotel and experience the wide world. Both their apple carts are upset by the unexpected arrival of a human backpacker Johnathan. Chaos ensues when Mavis and Johnny take a shine to one another. Drac must learn to let his little girl grow up and overcome his distaste for humans so that true luurve can prevail. Luckily the adventurous and fun loving Johnny is the right dude for the job. He teaches the ghouls how to party 21st century style and in the process bridges the gap between the two races.
Whilst the central theme of father/daughter conflict is well trodden territory, the film is fresh and playful. I’d braced myself for an onslaught of potty humor but there was less of it than I had expected. We do however learn early on that monsters do monstrous farts, which is bound to appeal to young boys. Johnny is a free styling party dude whose philosophy is “you just gotta roll with it”. His exuberance gives the undead Drac a new lease of life. There are plenty of gags about the way vampires are portrayed in the popular culture. One moment where Drac huffs in disgust about the Twilight saga is pure gold. In another uproarious scene Drac and his gang stumble into a “monster festival” where they discover that rather than being despised by humans, they are revered, by the nerds at least.
The support cast including Kevin James and David Spade add pizazz. Steve Buscemi does a hilariously dead pan hen pecked were wolf and Fran Drescher is brought out of moth balls to play a nasally, big haired Mrs Frankenstein. Overall the dudey high jinks and camaraderie make Hotel Transylvania play like a Judd Apatow movie minus the sexy bits. This makes it pitch perfect for the 6 to 10 age group.
Mumabulous Verdict: 7.5/10
Given that most of Adam Sandler’s work is juvenile, his foray into children’s films seems like a natural progression. He gets it right with Hotel Transylvania. Apparently Adam wanted to make a film that he could enjoy with his own daughters. He’s put some heart into this project and it shows. Its a fun, high spirited holiday film which is ideal for primary schoolers and has plenty to make the grown ups smile.
P1′s Verdict: I liked the bit where they had a piggy back fight in the pool. That was so fun. Could I have the DVD of that?
P2′s Verdict: Popcorn!