Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hotel Transylvania ★★1/2

Image result for Hotel Transylvania 2012 film stills

    About three minutes into the running time of "Hotel Transylvania," a children's animated film that features several classic monster personas as the title characters, one can undeniably see where the picture is headed: into a realm of cuteness and absurdity. Genndy Tartakovsky's  directorial debut relies heavily on a sense of stereotypical irony, as characters such as Dracula (Adam Sandler), Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), and Frankenstein (Kevin James) all exhibit good-natured qualities instead of their typical attributes infused with iniquity. I'm sure younger audiences will find them to be quite lovable, and I guess that is of the utmost concern here.

    The plot: In present-day Transylvania, Count Dracula runs a very successful hotel specifically catered to monsters. He also has a daughter named Mavis, who desperately pines to see the outside world. (Her one hundred and twenty-first birthday nears, and this would certainly warrant some time away from home.) Mavis' interest in leaving the nest sets off an amusing chain of events, as the overprotective Dracula attempts to keep his sheltered daughter away from the external world, which we are told is inhabited by the ruthless and vile humans. Additionally, once a goofy and eccentric young man named Johnny finds and infiltrates the secluded hotel, Dracula must do everything in his power to hide him from Mavis and the rest of the unexpecting guests. (For, being "human free" is one of the most respected selling points of the establishment.)  

Image result for Hotel Transylvania 2012 film stills

    At its core, "Hotel Transylvania" is a good-humored picture that comments on the relations between a father and daughter, and it can inevitably be viewed as a moral implication film. (You know, instructing parents to be a little more compassionate and understanding when it comes to their teenagers and their adolescent's desires.) There are several motifs that allude to the fruitlessness of a life void of fun, as well as a handful of shots at humanity, which ultimately creates a satirical atmosphere with twenty-first-century society being the center of the rather sardonic ribbing. Unfortunately, however, it would seem as if these admirable traits were drowned out by the number of moments fueled by lowbrow humor. (I actually had to keep a tab in order to keep up with the numerous fart and feces jokes that littered the dialogue of the script.) This is not to mention the fact that we are eventually told of humanity's current harmonious disposition, which is clearly a fallacious notion; I guess these peculiar residents of Transylvania lack a legitimate news outlet.          

    When placing a picture such as "Hotel Transylvania" under a microscope, it brings up an applicable discussion involving the grading system of film critics. How tough is too tough? Likewise, what if the narrative did its job? Does it deserve the highest score for its efforts? "Hotel Transylvania" surely stimulates laughter time and again, and it will undoubtedly keep the young children entertained, but does this mean that it is a timeless classic and a product that will be cherished in the halls of cinematic history for years to come? (Although these may seem like rhetorical questions, the answers should come across plainly.) Let's face it, we knew going into this experience that profundity was a longshot, which certainly curtails my enthusiasm for writing this review, yet one also has to look at the contribution this film makes to its accompanying genre. Children's animated pictures aren't known for their intellectual delving, but they at least have to present an engaging tale with an appealing set of characters and a strong dialogue to boot. Regrettably, "Hotel Transylvania" was unable to hit all the marks.          

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