Horror-themed animation that relies too heavily on crass fart jokes and juvenile humour
Given Genndy Tartakovsky's extensive background in animation, working on TV favourites Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, it's hardly surprising that his feature film debut Hotel Transylvania boasts such impressive visuals. Sadly, they are not matched by a script that's been assembled by no less than five writers and which relies a little too heavily on crass fart jokes and juvenile humour.
And yet the premise had potential. Keen to lead a peaceful existence away from humans, Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) has created a hotel that offers a luxury getaway to fellow ghosts, ghouls and creatures including Frankenstein (Kevin James), Wayne Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and Murray the Mummy (CeeLo Green), as well as a home for his teenage daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). On the eve of her 118th birthday, however, the hotel receives a visit from slacker teenage human Jonathan (Andy Samberg), who takes an immediate liking to her, prompting the Count to resort to desperate measures to get rid of his unwanted guest.
Tartakovsky's film seldom sits still in its attempts to keep viewers entertained, throwing in song and dance routines and zany Tex Avery-inspired chases and it could well keep the youngest minds amused. But it lacks the broad appeal and sophistication of Pixar and pales by comparison to the more recent likes of ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, which both treat its subjects with a great deal more reverence. The messages behind the film, concerning over-protective parenting and acceptance, are heavy-handed, the songs uninspired and the characterisations wafer-thin. Sandler overdoes the camp in his portrayal of Dracula, Gomez is a generically surly teen and Samberg just irritates as the unlikable Jonathan.
General release from Fri 12 Oct.