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Harmless Monster Fun at “Hotel Transylvania”

Some movies are as harmless as the movie monster icons they’re portraying.

Hotel Transylvania” is an animated family comedy starring Adam Sandler as Dracula. He’s built a secluded hotel in the Transylvania woods that is a sanctuary for monsters, a place where they are safe from the scary humans that will hunt them down and steal their candy. But Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) wants to explore the world.

On her 118th birthday, Drac plans an elaborate party with all of his other monster friends: Frankenstein, Wolfman, Mummy, Invisible Man, zombies,skeletons, and all their families. (Voiced by Sandler regulars and “SNL” alumni like Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, and Jon Lovitz.) But there’s one unexpected guest, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), an American backpacking through Europe who stumbles in the hotel by accident.

Jonathan is an easy-going adventurer who isn’t quite sure why Drac is so freaked out about his humanness. After a quick makeover he passes as a cousin of Frankenstein’s right arm. Drac tries to keep him out of sight but he catches a glimpse of Mavis and falls in love. Uh-oh.

As far as animated features go, “Hotel Transylvania” isn’t terrible. It’s not particularly great either. It was … fine. There was just nothing really special about it. Bringing together all these great horror icons could be done in a way that was fun for the whole family. But, it was strictly for the 10-and-under crowd.

It’s a kids movie, and I can appreciate that they don’t want to go too dark, but they could include a bit more depth for the adults in the audience. There are some laughs, and it doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time, but you don’t walk out with an overwhelming need to see it again, ever.

I liked the look of this movie. The style, the colors, everything popped and was visually appealing. The idea of a monster-only hotel is fun. And seeing Dracula as an overprotective father was a unique spin on a classic character.

The majority of the voice actors are instantly recognizable which can be distracting but overall works because this is an Adam Sandler film. Though much more enjoyable than recent live-action Sandler works.

If you have kids, this is a pretty good movie to take them to. They’ll love it and you’ll be mildly entertained. If you’re just a fan of animated films, there are better out there.

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