Two years ago, three of my favorite ten movies of the year were animated. I like films that are creative, I like cartoons, and I like smart kids films. This movie is not really all that creative, it certainly is not smart but it is an animated cartoon. I’m not sure why Sony is doing a cartoon movie featuring what were essentially Universal characters in the first half of the last century. As I think about it, maybe their emphasis has been to take cartoons and put them to live action (ala “the Flintstones”) rather than going the other way. Universal does have “Despicable Me 2” coming, so I know there is an animation presence there, but somehow this is not theirs. From a financial point of view, maybe they wish they had this but from an artistic one, they can live without it.
Hotel Transylvania is really a movie made for little kids. I mean five years and under. The characters are simplistic, the story is well worn, and plot points feel like they are lifted from a thousand kids movies in the past. When the Monsters jump on stage and start playing music like a rock band for no reason what so ever, I felt like I was in an episode of “Scooby Doo” or “The Archies”. I know I am showing my age with those two references, but that is basically how the movie feels. If characters from kids cartoons still do this, then fill in your own example.
The look of the movie is fine but not dynamic or unique. Everything is passable as a castle, or vampire or werewolf, but none of it feels very interesting and when the fart jokes start coming, I was ready to give up. The movie actors giving voice to the Monsters are not doing anything to make the characters really sing, it feels like they are going through the motions and collecting their paychecks. I did not hate the movie, I just did not care about anything in it. It is a little better than Madagascar 3, but it doesn’t have the Rainbow Afro/Circus song to make it memorable. If you have tiny children who want a Halloween style movie, this may be OK, we waited on “Frankenweenie” because we thought it would stay in theaters a little longer. Let’s hope it is better than this inconsequential effort.