tek's rating: ½

Hotel Transylvania (PG)
Dread Central; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Sony Pictures; Sony Pictures Animation; SPA Wiki; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu

This came out in 2012, but I didn't see it until 2015 (on Halloween), by which time there was already a sequel. Of course I wanted to see this because of my general love of both animation and supernatural stuff. (Also because I thought Mavis was kind of cute.) But another big reason I wanted to see it is because it's directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who's made several great animated TV series. I ended up not liking the movie quite as much as I'd hoped I would, but it was still decent.

It begins in 1895, not long after the birth of a baby vampire girl named Mavis, whose father is Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler). There's a brief montage of his taking care of her and teaching her as she grows up. When she's still very young, a castle Dracula had designed is completed, and they move there. It's well hidden from the human world, and would be virtually impossible for any human to find. Drac wanted to keep Mavis there because humans hunt monsters, and he wanted to keep her safe. (Her mother, Dracula's wife, Martha, was killed by an angry mob not long after Mavis was born.) As soon as they move into the castle, the story flashes forward to the present, when Mavis (now voiced by Selena Gomez) turns 118 years old. The castle (which as far as I can tell wasn't actually called "Hotel Transylvania") has become a hotel for monsters, where pretty much any monster you've ever heard of gather every year to celebrate Mavis's birthday. There are also various monsters on staff at the hotel. Most notably, Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) is the chef. (He kind of reminds me of Chef Louis from The Little Mermaid.)

Anyway, Drac had made a promise to Mavis, years ago, that when she turned 118, she could go out and see the rest of the world, for the first time. She was super excited about that, but her father was terrified of what might happen to her. So, he built a fake village and had his zombie servants dress as humans to frighten her, so she'd never want to leave home again. The plan works, but soon after that, a human backpacker named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) shows up at the hotel. So Dracula tries to get rid of him, but fails. He then dresses him up to look like a Frankenstein monster (calling him Johnny Stein), and spends the rest of the movie trying to keep anyone else from learning that he's actually human. That leads him to claim Johnny is a party planner he'd hired, to give Mavis a party that was more appealing to someone her own age. (He claimed Johnny was 121, so basically... if you want to convert monster years to human years, I guess you just have to subtract 100.) Meanwhile, Quasimodo has a pet rat named Esmeralda (nice touch), who keeps smelling a human. Anyway, despite Dracula's best efforts to keep them apart, Mavis and Johnny spend some time together, and quickly fall in love. But what's really unexpected is that when Drac and Johnny spend time together, they actually become friends, so Drac learns that humans aren't so bad, after all. And that's all I want to reveal specifically of the plot. Of course it has a happy ending. And there are some decent gags, and... it gets more fun as the story progresses.

The DVD also has a traditionally animated short called "Goodnight Mr. Foot." It was made by Tartakovsky, though the animation style reminded me more of "Ren & Stimpy." In the short film, Bigfoot comes to the hotel as a guest, and just wants to sleep. However, a witch maid constantly (inadvertently) makes noise while trying not to wake him. It was... okay I guess, but not really my kind of thing.

Followed by Hotel Transylvania 2 and "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation". There's also a prequel series on Disney Channel.


CGI index
Halloweenish movies

Novel: Dracula
(The following is a list of things I've seen or want to see. There have been countless other things that have adapted or parodied the novel.)

Adaptations: Dracula (1931) * Bram Stoker's Dracula
Other movies: Nosferatu * Taste the Blood of Dracula * Dracula 2000 * The Batman vs. Dracula * Dracula Untold
TV: Buffy vs. Dracula * Dark Prince (2000) * Hellsing * Dracula (2006) * The Librarian 3 * Dracula (2013)
Parodies: Blacula * Dracula: Dead and Loving It * Mina Murray's Journal
Ensembles: Drak Pack * The Monster Squad * Van Helsing * Hotel Transylvania * Penny Dreadful