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Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world's most famous monsters - Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more - to celebrate his daughter Mavis' 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem - but his world could come crashing down when a human stumbles on the hotel for the first time and takes a shine to Mavis.
For more about Hotel Transylvania and the Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray release, see Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gómez, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Andy Samberg
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
» See full cast & crew
Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray Review
Little novelty, lots of charm.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 21, 2013
Yes exactly. A hotel for monsters. Way to sum it up.
The computer-animated family picture has become a mainstream mainstay of cinema. It seems hardly a week goes by when there isn't some sort of digital kid-centric creation in theaters or coming to home video after what is usually a very profitable and lengthy run at multiplexes all over the world. And count on them selling more than a few copies on Blu-ray; kids want to see them time and again, learn the lines, come to love the characters, and revel in the silly escapades and flashy colors. Unlike live-action cinema, however, there's still some novelty at work in the digital industry, stories with hearts and new thematic twists and interesting dramatic currents flowing through an abundance of charm and a plethora of laughs. Hotel Transylvania, on the other hand, doesn't quite find the same range of interesting new ideas; it's instead content to tell an incredibly basic story of an overprotective father, here set not in suburbia or the big city but rather in the middle of nowhere where monsters live apart and far away from their human enemies. The film embraces cliché -- most of these sorts of films do -- and has a lot of fun with classic motifs, but it never distinguishes its story as anything more than a routine and predictable run towards the happily-ever-after conclusion (replete with pop-inspired songs that will have the little ones dancing up a storm). The movie works well as mindless entertainment with a lot of fun characters and situations, but don't expect to be dazzled by the disappointingly stale storyline.
Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) is a single father who has vowed to raise his infant daughter Mavis right. His goal: to protect her from humans who want nothing but harm to come to vampires and other monsters. He's ordered the construction of a mighty fortress deep in the middle of nowhere. Years pass, and finally, the construction is complete. It's as secluded as a place can be and it's protected by a host of monsters to boot, monsters that Dracula hopes will drive away humans whose curiosity gets the best of them. Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) has just turned 118 (that's pouty teenager in human years) and Dracula has invited all of monster-dom over for the party. But she only wants to escape and see the world for herself. Much to her surprise, Dracula agrees to let her go. She sets out to visit humanity but finds only angry individuals reacting her to mere presence with torches and pitchforks. Little does she know that it's all a hoax meant to keep her locked up at home, but her whole perspective is set on a collision course with change and destiny when a human accidentally stumbles into the castle. Jonathan (voiced by Andy Samberg) is a 21-year-old hiker with a love for all things monsters. Dracula must hide his true identity from the monsters and watch in dismay as his daughter starts to fall for -- gasp -- a human boy. Can the good Count keep things in order, or will one little human bring down everything for which he's worked so hard to hold up?
Hotel Transylvania will please older fans enamored with classic monster movie characters and stylings. The film expertly balances out the look and feel of cinema's most cherished villains with an ever-so-slightly updated animated appearance, accentuating certain features for comic effect but certainly maintaining the spirit of the old Universal favorites (and characters beyond) of yore. With that in mind, however, Adam Sandler's voice performance isn't particularly memorable; he captures the inflections of one of the most iconic and imitated fictional voices in entertainment history as well as it has ever been done, but captures it to a degree that basically defines the vampiric Dracula vocal stereotype. That's certainly what the movie calls for, but it also lacks a passion, an absence that can be sensed elsewhere in the picture, too. Some of the rest of the cast seems to have plenty of fun defining their characters, but there's an underlying blandness to many of the vocal performances too, with more emphasis on tone rather than content. Selena Gomez's work as Mavis often comes across as stilted and lacking in emotion, even in the character's most emotionally-charged scenes which are, of course, shaped by broad strokes of general teenage angst and emotion rather than a truer, deeper sense of rebellion and self. So the film features stereotyped and emotionless voices both, but the good news is that beyond a rather stale studio recording session and a see-through script, there's plenty of fun remaining in Hotel Transylvania.
Even if the voice acting and script both lack passion and even if the story won't score any points for originality, Hotel Transylvania manages to transfix audiences -- young and old -- with its buoyant juxtaposition of scary monster movie goodness and hip and happening modern splashes. The recreation of all things classic monster is done in good taste and with innocent intentions at its center. The way the film intermixes the typical cobweb-infested, cold, and inhospitable classic Transylvanian castle with an eccentric collection of monster movie guests coming over for a very important birthday party is one of the film's best assets. It makes the scary approachable and the villainous tame, no surprise given that the movie is aimed at younger audiences. Still, it makes for a pleasant little diversion and works around a fun core idea that doesn't outlast its welcome, even under the weight of a thrown-together script. Add in the whacky exploits of a human in the monsters' midst and all the efforts to keep his true identity a secret, and the stage is set for plenty of high jinks that will have audiences spilling out of their chairs in laughter. True, a story that aimed for more than generic qualities would have been preferable, but one must keep in mind that the middle-aged film buff isn't the target audience; kids will adore the characters, the music, and the colors, and the story is simple enough for them to follow even through all of the loud noises and endless fun. The film knows its place and maintains a status quo of simple entertainment from start to finish. It's definitely a movie for the kids, and even in spite of a plot that's more incidental than critical, parents, grandparents, and even older siblings should find enough pure movie magic pleasure to look past the shortcomings and enjoy Hotel Transylvania as an innocent little venture suitable for the entire family.
Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hotel Transylvania's high definition presentation will dazzle all audiences. Sony's 1080p, 1.85:1-framed image sparkles from the first shot to the last, even under a real lack of bright backdrops. The splashes of color -- a red carpet, a green globular character, and little accents all throughout the film -- look great against the rather cold and unwelcoming but sometimes slightly warm (thanks to flame lighting) confines of the castle's stone walls and floors. Darker hues are presented naturally, whether shadowy corners or black clothes. Detail is striking; Hotel Transylvania looks as good as any animated film on Blu-ray and captures the intricacies of the digital animation splendidly, whether Murray the Mummy's worn bandages, facial and hair textures, or little touches around the castle. The transfer proves very crisp and smooth, nicely defined and naturally sharp. There are no troublesome bouts of blocking or banding; even foggy exteriors appear natural and true. This transfer is a real pleasure from beginning to end.
Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony's Hotel Transylvania scares up a wonderful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The presentation offers a full, constant surround support that's natural, enveloping, and exciting. There's a steady flow of elements into the rear speakers, whether wide and swooping action elements that maneuver all over the stage or precision sound effects that help to fully immerse the listener into the castle and surrounding exteriors. There's fantastic clarity to music, whether playful score or full-on Rock- and Pop-inspired tunes. Even at its most aggressive, music remains tight and very clear, with fine details throughout the entire range and a strong low-end support element. The track really rocks out during its musical numbers, found in chapters seven and twelve and again at film's end. There's a pleasing ambience in several exterior scenes and fantastic immersive clarity even in the more quiet, dialogue-oriented moments, such as a father-daughter rooftop chat in chapter thirteen. General dialogue is clear and focused in the center channel, spreading out naturally when necessary. This is a wonderful, fun, active, and pitch-perfect track from Sony.
Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Hotel Transylvania contains a good number of (mostly) technically oriented supplements. Amongst the non-technical extras is a short film and a collection of deleted scenes.
Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Hotel Transylvania lacks passion from its voice cast and really lacks even a semblance of a novel script, but never mind that. The target audience is going to adore this film for its lovable and safe monstrous characters, the bright colors, the slick animation, and the song-and-dance routines that dot the film's entire digital landscape. Even for the grown-ups who know how it's going to end almost before it starts, the film provides a decent little diversion and, if nothing else, watching the younger ones having a ball with the movie should alone be worth the price of admission. Sony's 2D Blu-ray release of Hotel Transylvania features fantastic video and audio. A good assortment of extras are included. Highly recommended to families.
Hotel Transylvania: Other Editions
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Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, January 28-February 3: Hotel Transylvania Reserves... - February 7, 2013
For the week that ended on February 3rd, Sony Pictures Entertainment had the top Blu-ray and overall package media sales with its release of Hotel Transylvania. This CGI comedy, which combines the talents of Adam Sandler and noted animation producer/director Genndy ...
• Hotel Transylvania Blu-ray - November 19, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has detailed its upcoming 2D and 3D Blu-ray releases of director Genndy Tartakovsky's comedy Hotel Transylvania (2012), featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg. The releases will be available for purchase ...
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