If there’s one genre of film I am really excited about, it’s animation. No, seriously.
Having arguably evolved more than any other type of film in the last twenty years, animation has thrived as technology has developed. But it’s not just technologically that these cartoon creations have progressed. With each generation children become better media readers. As such, storylines can be beefed up, sub-plots created and characters fleshed out. Plus the studios are more savvy too. They seem to have realised there’s more profits to be had if their flicks appeal to the ‘big kids’ of the world too.
Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks have led the way, with visual stunners like Finding Nemo, generation jumpers like Shrek, and story-telling genius like Up. But in the last decade Sony Animation has also joined the throng.
Admittedly Sony Animation is like that accident child you never intended to have and leave to lurk in the shadows cast by your bigger and better kiddies. They broke onto the market with mediocre productions like Monster House and Open Season. Last year’s offering of Arthur Christmas was possibly the most annoying trailer I have ever seen in my life. To date I’ve found their animation a little ugly, but hey, I’m all for loving rejected children so I went to Hotel Transylvania with high hopes.
Hotel Transylvania tells of Count Dracula and the overprotective relationship with he shares with his 118 year old daughter. They live in (and own) Hotel Transylvania, a haven for monsters everywhere from the frightening race that is humanity. But one day a spunky young humanoid stumbles into their midst – brace yourself Daddy! Love is in the air!
Sure the story is somewhat conventional but it’s nicely portrayed with a father and daughter who love and respect eachother despite their differences. It was nice to see the writers didn’t opt for the stereotypical angsty, snappy teenager that hates her Dad. Well done Sony for pushing a happy single-parenting scenario. Pat yourselves on the back.
The vocal performances are solid throughout. But who knows why they felt that Dracula’s daughter needed to have an American accent when her Dad is Transylvanian; surely they didn’t feel that children of this day and age can’t connect with a lead character that is foreign? I would have liked to see Sony Animation go out on a limb here, but sadly, not this time around.
For a studio that produces mostly visually underwhelming animation, I was quite impressed with this flick. Sure it’s not my preferred style of glossy, shimmering and stunningly beautiful, but they did a great job. The film is aesthetically pleasing with a few “wow!” and “aaawwww” moments scattered here and there, and fabulous 3D.
But be warned: this film is far from cutesy with some seriously freaky imagery. It’s rammed full of monsters from the hilarious to the downright creepy. Beware of taking your younger children (nightmares ahoy!).
This can also be seen as a plus; this is a family flick that will appeal to boys just as much (if not more) than girls. You could take your whole family – even your preteens laboring under the illusion they are too old and too cool for animated movies. Everyone would find something to laugh at (you included).
The movie is designed with short attention spans in mind. It’s random and it’s seriously fast with action coming at you from all sides. This got a little irritating as a patient audience member, but the kids in the cinema were loving the hyperactivity.
It doesn’t push the boundaries, it won’t change your life or anything, but Hotel Transylvania is an excellent option if you find yourself stuck with a bunch of hypo kids over the holidays. They’ll love it and you’ll share some laughs too. In terms of it’s place within the animation genre, I rate it 6 stars.