By Forrest Hartman
Rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and on demand
Genndy Tartakovsky has been a player in TV animation for years, and he made a successful jump to the big screen as director of “Hotel Transylvania.” The computer-animated feature not only looks great, it features a sweet story that puts a new spin on some of cinema’s best-known monsters.
In the movie’s world, Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man are misunderstood creatures that have been terrorized by humans for centuries. In fact, the monsters are more afraid of people than vice versa.
In an effort to keep his daughter, Mavis (voiced Selena Gomez), safe, Dracula (Adam Sandler) builds a carefully guarded luxury hotel that is strictly human-free. His customers range from mummies to gremlins, and everyone has a great time, especially when they gather for one of Mavis’ birthday celebrations. Alas, Mavis is tired of being cooped up in the hotel and constantly begs for an opportunity to explore the outside world that Drac shelters her from.
That makes things particularly troublesome when a good-natured human (Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel. Because he’s actually a nice guy, Drac refuses to kill the young man, but that means he has to hide the human’s identity from both Mavis and his hotel guests.
The story, which was written by committee, is fast-moving and fun, and Tartakovsky does a nice job splitting the screen time between a large group of characters, all voiced by A-list actors. Sandler, Gomez and Samberg are joined by Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, CeeLo Green and Jon Lovitz.
Folks lucky enough to have a Blu-ray 3D system will appreciate Tartakovsky’s respectable use of the technology. Mostly, it adds depth to the visuals, but there are also action sequences where the effects become thrilling. That’s not to say a 2D viewing of the film will disappoint. The storytelling is enjoyable enough to make the film work in either dimension.
DVD and Blu-ray extras include deleted scenes, a music video and a filmmakers’ audio commentary.