Halloween is almost upon us and already in our house, our seven year old is eager to carve pumpkins, put up skeleton decorations and wear false masks.
Plans are being drawn up with military precision for trick or treating and going to see fireworks but this year we’ve decided it’s sensible to avoid lighting magic lanterns.
With mid-term break coming, Hollywood smells profits and so another animated monsters comedy has landed in our cinemas.
Genndy Tartakovsky’s ‘Hotel Transylvania’ has already smashed records for Columbia Pictures and Sony Animation in the US, taking $43 million in its opening weekend – making it the biggest ever September opening for a film.
The movie is already in profit, easily recouping the $83 million it took to make it.
The question is: why?
‘Hotel Transylvania’ begins with Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) who dotes over his beautiful baby vampire daughter. In a series of scenes, we see him over the years teach her how to turn at will into a bat and fly.
Dracula, however, is an over-protective father, fearful of the human world because of the death of his wife and so he tries to shut his castle away from the outside world, turning it instead into a holiday resort just for monsters.
Mavis, Dracula’s daughter (Selena Gomez) is going stir crazy inside the castle and wants to see the outside world on her coming of age 118th birthday. So in a bid to quell her desire, Dracula allows her to fly to a fake village he has constructed outside the castle where she is threatened by ghouls wearing human masks.
All is well in the hotel again as Mavis tells her dad he was right all along about humans and Dracula’s friends Frankenstein (Kevin James), his loudmouth wife Eunice (Fran Drescher), Wayne and Wanda Werewolf (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon), the Invisible Man (David Spade) and Murray the Mummy (CeLo Greene) prepare for her birthday party.
Suddenly a human backpacker named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles across the hotel and falls for Mavis. Despite Dracula’s efforts to get rid of him, he hangs about disguised as a party organiser and a distant cousin of Frankenstein, so as not to alarm the guests. Everything is going swimmingly until the chef, Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) and his pet rat begin to, well, smell a rat.
Will Dracula be able to spirit Jonathan out of the hotel and back into the human world? Will he succeed without Mavis falling for the human? Will Quasimodo unmask Jonathan as a human? Will there be an annoying rap at the end of the movie?
I certainly didn’t, although I’m sure those under the age of 10 will.
‘Hotel Transylvania’ has to be one of the most mind numbing 91 minutes I have spent in a cinema this year.
It lacks any shred of originality. The plot is lazy and the acting is passionless. The animation is ho hum and the 3D effects, for those of you dragged along to see the 3D version, are underwhelming.
And if you listen very carefully to the soundtrack, you might just hear the sound of actors cashing their pay cheques.
‘Hotel Transylvania’ is so bad it actually made me hark back nostalgically to the weird visuals earlier this year of the Mexican abomination that was ‘Top Cat – the Movie’.
Those of you who have seen ‘Monsters Inc’ or ‘A Monster In Paris’ will know exactly how a family animated adventure like this should be done. Even ‘Monsters vs Aliens’ was superior.
It’s not that ‘Hotel Transylvania’ pales by comparison, it simply has no complexion at all.
The movie isn’t helped by Steve Buscemi’s presence in the supporting cast because that only serves as a reminder of how good he was as the evil lizard, Randall in ‘Monsters Inc’ and flags up how little he has to do in this film.
On the scale of terrible family movies, ‘Hotel Transylvania’ doesn’t slip into ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ territory but it’s not that far off.
Fangs for the memories?
I’d rather wait for Disney/Pixar’s ‘Monster Inc’ prequel, ‘Monster’s University’.
In fact, I might even start wearing garlic necklaces if it prevents ‘Hotel Transylvania 2′.
‘Hotel Transylvania’ opened in the Movie House and other cinemas in the UK and Ireland on October 12, 2012.