“Hotel Transylvania” (2012) Review
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted October 20th 2014
Genndy Tartakovsky is a renowned animation icon when it comes to television cartoons, with such titles as “Dexter’s Lab”, “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Samurai Jack” under his belt. So the idea of Tartakovsky teaming up with members of the Saturday Night Live alumni to make an animated feature sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, the result is a horror comedy called “Hotel Transylvania” and frankly, it’s a mixed bag.
“Hotel Transylvania” follows Dracula (a family-friendly portrayal who drinks blood substitute) as he runs a hotel for monsters while raising his teenage daughter Mavis. Dracula, fearful for his daughter’s safety, insists that she never leaves the castle to protect her from the humans outside. One day, a happy-go- lucky human called Johnny ends up finding the hotel and a paranoid Dracula begins to panic. Afraid to expose a human to his guests and daughter, he disguises Johnny as a monster and Mavis ends up falling for him. Will the truth be uncovered?
The most noticeable thing about “Hotel Transylvania” is its wacky energy and frantic rhythm, which will divide audiences depending on their tolerance levels. Personally, I found that it got pretty annoying because the film would frequently suffocate me with hyperactive slapstick or bonkers imagery; we are rarely given a moment to stop and breathe. While I can imagine that some people will get sucked into this whirlwind style of pacing, it just ended up aggravating me due to the overbearing speed of the storytelling. This pace does support the quick spitfire comedy, but it also makes the viewing experience feel like drinking four buckets of coffee while snorting grams of cocaine (which I can imagine is a nauseating trip).
Despite this, “Hotel Transylvania” can be very sweet and heartfelt. The centre of the film is an overprotective father’s relationship with his high-spirited teenage daughter; we can understand where both characters are coming from and sympathise with their desires. The inevitable romance between Mavis and Johnny is charming too; they share some cute moments together that show signs of chemistry.
So, does Tartakovsky’s animation style support the film? Well, the character animation is very unique thanks to some slick and eccentric movement that feels reminiscent of a Cartoon Network show. Characters bounce and slide in very flexible ways that bolster the comic timing superbly. The problem is that the film’s zany pace often makes the animation outrageously overblown and provides way too much imagery to pay attention to. Yes, cartoons are usually demented and wild, but not to this degree; this is just annoying.
As a whole, “Hotel Transylvania” has a lot of heart, a couple of laughs, and some adorable romance; but it’s just very difficult to get into some of the more serious scenes after being bombarded with crazy monster gags or while something over the top is happening. Its chaotic storytelling style and hectic pacing can get exasperating. Some people will enjoy this anarchic insanity, but like me, many will find it too distracting, desperate, and obnoxiously unrestrained.