These vampires don’t sparkle, but they’re very familiar with diaper changing.
There’s not even a moment of shiver in the new “Hotel Transylvania,” a sweet, goofy movie that makes some of fiction’s greatest monsters seem as normal and relatable as the people you might meet at a PTA meeting. It’s got the heart of a Hallmark Channel movie, the sensibility of a madcap Saturday morning cartoon, and a mildly surreal perspective shift that makes you wonder if something deeper might be going on.
The cartoon sensibility comes straight from director Genndy Tartakovsky, the man behind “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “The Powerpuff Girls.” Here, he turns the world of horror movie monsters into a playground, with one character slipping on a very annoyed brain, flying tables, a high-diving Frankenstein and a flying lesson that includes a little pink helmet. It’s silly, visually inventive fun from the first frame to the last.
There are also some jokes in there for adults, all subtle and well integrated enough that they don’t jar you out of the story. My favorite scene focuses on some well-known Dracula stereotypes, but there’s also a discreet jab at “Twilight” and an early scene with zombie construction workers that made me laugh.
Adam Sandler, who did the voice of Dracula, pulls off a better comedic performance than in the last several movies where his name was above the title. The rest of the cast includes several other famous names, including Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, Andy Samberg and Molly Shannon.
For the younger generation, Selena Gomez does the voice of Dracula’s daughter. I also hold teens responsible for the movie’s unfortunate tendency to indulge in white-boy rap whenever possible, though that might also be Adam Sandler’s fault. Either way, it’s the movie’s only major failing.
The basic plot, about a father who was so effected by the loss of his wife that he can’t let his little girl go off on her own, is straight out of the heartwarming TV movie playbook. True, both father and daughter are vampires, but that does nothing to lessen the basic sugary sweetness that sits right at the heart of the movie. I’m fond of the stuff РР I indulge in every Christmas TV movie I can find Р but those who don’t need to be prepared for a cavity or two.
For more information check out the Oct.4 edition of Davis Clipper.