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Movie Review: ‘Hotel Transylvania’ spooks families closer together

Erica Maurice
Staff Writer

“Hotel Transylvania” is the perfect heart-warming children’s movie to connect the whole family.

The film, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, tells the story of Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler, as he tries to shield his daughter Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez, from the human world.

Tartakovsky has directed and produced some of the animated shows that 1990s kids grew up watching, like “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” More recently he directed the animated series “Samurai Jack” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars.”

Immediately the movie starts tugging at fond memories of bonding between father and daughter as we see scenes of Mavis’ growing up with her father after the passing of her mother.

Even as a child, when she tried to venture outside the safety of their family home, Dracula would be there to carry her back in. Like any parent he tells her stories of the evil monsters that live beyond the safety of the walls referring to humans.

This spin on the monsters story that parents traditionally tell their children to keep them safe was comical and at the same time connected well with real-life.

It proves that even monster parents can be over-protective of their children.

In the film Dracula has invited his friends Frankenstein, Werewolf, Mummy, and Invisible Man along with every type of monster ever created to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday. The hotel’s friendly atmosphere completely takes away the scary reputation these creatures have in the outside world.

During Mavis’ party a human infiltrates the hotel, but before anyone finds out Dracula dresses him up as a monster. The human Jonathan, voiced by Andy Samberg, ends up falling in love with Mavis, which adds a love story to the movie.

The teenage romance aspect of the film relates well with the “love at first sight” cliché. As obstacles present themselves the young couple tries to find ways to steal time away together.

Meanwhile, the rest of the castle is trying to have a good time for Mavis’ birthday. In the celebration scenes this movie did a great job at demonstrating the bringing together of the old and the new.

The old “scary” monsters that normally give children nightmares turn into goofy family oriented things.

One scene shows Dracula’s friends start playing a song that is slow and boring, but Jonathan then takes over the guitar and puts his own fun new spin on it.

As the story progressed the comedy atmosphere of the theater quieted down into serious topics. With the death of Mavis’ mother finally discussed it tapped into more emotional topics for children such as the bond shared with your parents and coping with loss.

Even though the film was animated, the animation was smooth and didn’t take away from the more emotional parts of the film.

The casting director put together a great group of actors who did a fabulous job with the voices of the characters in this animation.

Some of the big actors include Kevin James and Fran Drescher. Drescher, of course, played a loud nagging wife who made references to how annoying humans voices are.

It was a wonderful performance by Gomez. It did not sound forced at all and there was no feeling of watching some strange episode of “Wizards of Waverly Place,” like some might have gotten in “Ted” with the voice of Peter from “Family Guy.”

This movie leaves families with some good messages. One is that family is important. Also, over time things change and people change.

Erica Maurice can be reached at erica.maurice@laverne.edu.

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