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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Horror > Vampire > Teens > Monster > Satire > Spoof > Computer Animation > Hotel Transylvania (2012/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)

Hotel Transylvania (2012/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B/C+     Extras: B-     Main Animated Feature: B-



One of the big stories of the year not enough have heard about is the return of Dexter’s Laboratory creator Genndy Tartakovsky, back with a critical and especially big commercial success with Hotel Transylvania (2012).  If you had told me a CG animated feature with voices by Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and Jon Lovitz (who was good on The Critic) would be made, be a hit and work, I would have laughed, but it does and as compared to Tim Burton’s double Horror dud remakes (Frankenweenie, Dark Shadows) outdoes his flat retro work handily enough.


Dracula (Sandler) has opened the title locale so his fellow monsters (including every one Universal ever made movies of in the early sound years) is having them all visit and promises a human-free weekend, et al.  It is also the birthday of his daughter (voiced well by Selena Gomez) and he wants things to go well, but she will fall for a human teenager (surprisingly good work by Samberg) that will drive her anti-human father batty.


Despite more toilet jokes than it really needed, the script had a final go through by Saturday Night Live alum Robert Smigel and the result is some of the best work (and only good work) these actors have done in many years if not their careers.


Of course, bringing all the famous monsters together (including to party) is nothing new as we have seen with the classic stop-motion animated Mad Monster Party?, big hit TV series Groovie Goolies, the Monster Squad 1976 TV series and 1980s feature film (all reviewed elsewhere on this site), their variant uses for breakfast cereal and so much more, so this could have bombed in lesser hands or if Sony had not kept working and reworking the idea until they got it right.  Tartakovsky puts this one over the top enough and the makers totally love and understand the genre they are taking on.


When it hit theaters, we even got to cover an impressive coffee table book called The Art & Making Of Hotel Transylvania and included our coverage of the 1976 Monster Squad TV series, all of which you can read more about at this link:




Surprisingly child-friendly and entertaining, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, singer CeeLo Green, Fran Drescher, Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon add to the fun and make Hotel Transylvania as good as any animated feature of 2012 including what Disney and DreamWorks delivered all year long.


Give it a try!



This release has been issued on Blu-ray 3D and that would include some great visuals not found in any other format, but our set only offers the 2D versions.  This includes the 1080p 1.85 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer that still offers some great depth, detail and some of the best color range I have seen on any computer animated feature to date.  Tartakovsky does not do animated radio and really pushes the limits of this variant of animation nicely.  That enhances the visual gags that work as well as add to the density of the world created.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is much softer and passable, but just cannot capture what was achieved here.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray is very well recorded, edited, is warm, has great direction effects and is as solid and impressive as any animated feature this year.  Even the music is more memorable (from Mark Mothersbaugh’s instrumental score to various vocal music) than most such productions in the last few years.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is much weaker by comparison, plus the DTS-MA on the Blu-ray has demo moments above the rating I gave it the Dolby could never compete with.


Extras include Ultraviolet Copy, plus a feature length audio commentary track by Tartakovsky, DVD-ROM links for “fun” games, Deleted Scenes and two Music Videos, while Blu-ray exclusives include Progression Reels and two making of featurettes: Making The Hotel: The Animation and Meet The Staff & Guests: Voicing Hotel Transylvania.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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