Tuesday 20 March 2018

Check in for a monsters' ball

Gavin Burke

Name of film

Hotel Transylvania

(PG, general release, 91mins)

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James


Hollywood animation brings out the socialist in me. When you can't guess who is voicing whom -- apart from Sandler and the unmistakable whine of Steve Buscemi, it could be anyone voicing the characters here -- then why not give a jobbing actor a chance? 'They're marquee names', is the argument but the six/seven-year-olds this is pitched at won't have a clue who Andy Samberg, David Spade, Fran Drescher or Jon Lovitz is. Or Buscemi for that matter. Rant over, on with the review.

After centuries of persecution at the hands of those insufferable humans, Dracula (Sandler) opens the titular hotel for monsters, a retreat where ghosts, ghouls and goblins can feel safe and relax.

Catering to every whim, there's no need to go outside, which is what he tells his teenage daughter Mavis (Gomez), who has itchy feet. When annoying surfer dude Johnny (Samberg) stumbles into the hotel, Dracula scrambles to keep his identity hidden from the guests.

Hotel Transylvania is Sony's belated answer to Monsters, Inc, that loveable Pixar adventure, and while it deals with similar themes -- racial prejudice and parenthood -- it doesn't match it for sweetness and imagination.

3D rarely comes up to the mark, but director Tartakovsky delivers exciting sequences that, while having little to do with the story itself, have lots of excuses to chuck things at the camera. And that Twilight dig is a good one.

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