Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hotel Transilvania

As with a lot of computer-animated kiddie movies, the technical staff outshine the material in Hotel Transilvania. But that makes sense: the director is Genndy Tartakovsky, who knows how cartoons should be made, and he's working for a large company with a so-so record.

The way the shots are framed and the physical business and the comic timing are all there and familiar (as well as secondary characters who are almost all more interesting than the leads) but the story is shit, Adam Sandler as overprotective vampire dad isn't funny, vampire daughter is completely unremarkable, and her eventual human beau is just stupid and irritating. In other words it's fine for kids and more trouble for adults. Eventually I felt sad for Tartakovsky, who probably made a bad product (five writers and Adam Sandler producing spells GREATNESS!) as good as it could possibly be.

There are enough decent jokes to make it a reasonable fulfillment of familial togetherness obligations, although there were sometimes points at which I wished the monsters would just eat the kid already: THAT IS WHAT MONSTERS DO.

Here's an interview that might not get Tartakovsky a lot of work:
Wired: [...] You gave Dracula impressive range, which gave Sandler much to do. I’ve also read some reviews that said you rehabilitated his sagging brand, which is Hollywood-speak but still carries some truth considering how bad his recent films have been. Has he called to thank you yet?

Tartakovsky: I mean, Adam’s actually very happy with how it’s played, but that’s the extent of it. But you know I don’t really think about that. That’s not my job. We tried to make the best movie we could make, and I’m happy with the way Adam performed. He’s a really funny person; it’s not like I actually had to push him. He did what he did, but I think the animation elevated it. I like to think we enhanced his performance to a more manic level. Because that’s the thing, this movie could’ve have been made where the animation didn’t push him, and it could’ve worked. The reviews that killed me are the ones complaining about cameras going all over the place.