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Movie Review

Hotel Transylvania

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor, action and scary images.

Reviewed by: Taran Gingery

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Family Kids Animation Adventure Suspense Comedy 3D
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 28, 2012 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: January 29, 2013
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures



father daughter relationship

over-protective father




the Mummy

invisible man

teen daughter

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Featuring: Adam SandlerDracula (voice)
Andy SambergJonathan (voice)
Selena GomezMavis (voice)
Kevin JamesFrankenstein (voice)
Fran Drescher … Eunice (voice)
Steve BuscemiWayne (voice)
Molly Shannon … Wanda (voice)
David Spade … Griffin (voice)
more »
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Producer: Sony Pictures Animation
Michelle Murdocca … producer
Adam Sandler … executive producer
Robert Smigel … executive producer
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

“Where monsters go to get away from it all”

Sequel: “Hotel Transylvania 2” (2015)

Weary travelers are welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, although they will find that the hotel’s clientèle aren’t necessarily living it up. In fact, most of the staff are zombies, Frankenstein and the Mummy are among the most frequent guests, and the owner of said hotel is the master of the undead himself, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler). However, if you are a human, it is best that you look elsewhere, for Dracula is against humans altogether, warning his guests to be on the lookout for wandering mortals, who will no doubt invade the castle with torches and pitchforks should they discover its existence.

Dracula’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), is a little more open-minded, and, as the film opens on the morning of her 118th birthday (which makes her the human equivalent of an 18-year-old), she is eager for her father to make good on his promise to let her explore the world beyond the castle. Dracula has no intention of letting her very far and manages to create a fake village replete with fake humans to frighten her and convince her that the human world is dangerous and the castle is the best place for her to remain—forever. Unfortunately, Dracula’s diversion catches the eye of a lost young human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), who stumbles into the hotel and endangers everything Dracula has tried to achieve, especially when his daughter forms an attraction towards the ungainly youth.

At first glance, it is clear that Dracula will never win an award for father-of-the-year. He purposely deceives his daughter, allowing his over-protectiveness to block Mavis. When Jonathan (whom he disguises has Frankenstein’s cousin, further deceiving his daughter, as well as his guests) proves to be more popular with Mavis and everyone else, he becomes jealous and acts even more selfishly. Dracula’s tragic past reveals why he is wary of humans and protective of his daughter, but eventually he is able to go past his selfish grief and see Mavis for what she is—a growing young woman who must eventually be allowed to make her own choices. He comes to risk everything, even his very life, to right the wrongs that he did to her.

So, “Hotel Transylvania,” content-wise, has some positive messages when it comes to parenting, especially in issues of trust, letting go and moving forward from the past, however the film is clearly created with children in mind. It rarely slows down long enough to let any of these messages sink in. It moves so quickly from scene to scene, with almost consistent and zany action in every frame, it is hard to focus on everything at once.

Furthermore, as is common with Sandler films, a lot of the humor is suggestive or gross-out. The Invisible Man is the subject of many jokes surrounding the fact that he is naked (at one point, his boxers are pulled down in a prank, the joke being he has no need to be embarrassed, because he is invisible, but his response is made unnecessarily crude). Another unneeded running joke involves the skeleton couple, when Jonathan inadvertently fondles Mrs. Skeleton’s breastbone and later stumbles upon her taking a shower. These would most likely go over kids” heads, but there are also several fart jokes and crude references to the fact that changing diapers in the Werewolf family is a messy affair, as they have several pups (we see one “watering” a chair leg). Slapstick humor is rampant (it reminded me of a Looney Tunes on steroids). A darker flashback moment does involve the past death of Dracula’s wife, which, while never seen, is strongly implied.

In the end then, “Hotel Transylvania” is a brightly animated film, which does play a lot with the concept of many well-known monsters in one place and does so creatively. The voice talents in particular are excellent, with Sandler making an exceptional Dracula, while Kevin James and Steve Buscemi steal the show as Frankenstein and Werewolf. Not all the humor is crude, and, in fact, a lot of the film is hilarious (a reference to the “Twilight” films is particularly timely). There are even a few touching moments (Mavis” first sunrise, bearing in mind vampires and the sun don’t mix). However, the film wallows too much in crudity to be truly recommendable, and its fast paced nature does little towards helping the character development. Families would probably be better off finding alternate lodgings.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Despite the negative things I heard about “Hotel Transylvania” (weak plot, cheesy humor, etc.), my friends and I had decided to see this movie regardless. We had been waiting a while to see this movie, with GREAT anticipation. Anway, my friends and I really enjoyed this film for what it was worth. The animation was spectacular, the humor was funny and, for the most part, clean (minus a few scenes). It’s a somewhat dark film, but not to the point where children couldn’t see this movie. I saw it in 3D and thought that the 3D didn’t make too much of a difference. …Maybe young children shouldn’t see this movie (under 8), but older children will appreciate the humor and fun of this film. Good job, Sony Animation!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—This movie is adorable. No, I don’t like the whole monster and Dracula scene, but I know those aren’t real anyway, so I just look at them like characters. Not sure kids can make that differentiation, as well. The Dracula guy loved his daughter, and the story with bringing in the human was hilarious. My husband and I saw this movie, and we both thought it was very entertaining and funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha Taylor, age 37 (USA)
Positive—This movie was so fast-paced, I got a little lost during the first half… but, towards the end, I liked it better. The animation was great, and Adam Sandler did a pretty good voice job, but Andy Samberg’s character did tend to get on my nerves a little bit. Also, I thought the side characters of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and the Werewolf were well-voiced and funny, but very under-used. One last thing: WHY was Quasimodo considered a monster, and WHY did he like to eat humans? That was just weird.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Positive—We just watched the movie. It was funny. My 5 year old just kept laughing and laughing. It was great voice talent with Kevin James, Adam Sandler and David Spade. There is nothing occult in the movie. There are a few scary times, if you’re a kid, but nothing scary for any preteen or even some younger. My 5 year old—didn’t bother her; it’s not any different then watching “Scooby Doo.” I think it was a fun movie, and, honestly, if you can watch a movie and just enjoy it without always worrying if it is a Christian movie, you can enjoy many movies. The movie is just taking some classic Hollywood monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, and many others and putting them into something fun and silly for kids.

There are a few jokes that could be crude, but kids won’t get them. Like Invisible Man, they pull his shorts off, and he makes the joke it’s cold, don’t judge me. Then, in one part, he is shaving and finds some powder, and he powders his bottom. Other then that it’s clean and funny. The main point of the show is the love of the father for his daughter and how he goes to great lengths to protect his daughter and keep her safe, because his wife died, so he is scared.

At the end, though he realizes that kids will be kids and sometimes you just have to let them go, that you can’t protect them all the time from the world. It’s a sweet movie, and it’s funny. I enjoyed it; I always enjoy a good comedy and something everyone can watch. Again, nothing occult in it. Nothing other then a couple of jokes that would make it bad, and, really, like I said, most of them would go over kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jason, age 36 (USA)
Positive—I am so relieved that this movie wasn’t so stupid, cheesy, or vulgar as the others. This movie was hilarious! My sister and I were laughing so hard that we were crying during almost the whole movie. I watched this movie almost 3 times and I still want to watch it again.

The language was almost clean and wasn’t as vulgar as the other cartoons. There was only one “Oh my G**” exclaimed from Jonnystein (Jonathan) when he’s in the cemetery, he doubts Dracula wanting his blood if comes back to Hotel, and sees a bat who he thinks is Dracula hearing him crabbing, when it’s actually Mavis, Dracula’s daughter. Normally and usually a lot of Adam Sandler’s movies are vulgar, stupid, or distasteful. I’m glad this one wasn’t one of them. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Anna, age 20 (USA)


Comments from young people
Neutral— I just recently had the option to watch “Hotel Transylvania” with my family…, and my much-anticipating younger brothers and sisters quite liked it. I suppose the same could be said for me. I have to say that Adam Sandler stole the show as the accented, protective father and protagonist of the film. Kevin James was also hilarious in his voice of Frankenstein, who was obviously the favorite of my family. This film was colorful, vivid, and well-scripted in parts, but some of the crude humor was quite a turn off. Still, I laughed at most of the clean jokes, and I would definitely watch the movie again.

However, as stated in a few reviews above, this movie does have a somewhat dark feel, mostly underlined due to the death of Dracula’s wife and his protectiveness of his daughter Mavis. I felt like crying when he unveiled the legend of how his wife died to the human. As for the dark spiritual content, I found there to be little, but still a little offensive content. Vampires, werewolves, mummies, zombies… they were all highlighted as being “monstrous,” and are somewhat scary. The same is said with some humans.

As for the satanic themes, the one thing that made me feel completely disappointed was when Dracula’s face and eyes turned red and his fangs seemed to leap out of the screen. My little brother was a more than a little uncomfortable with this, but, really, this was about the only thing in the movie I felt they could have been left out, along with the crude humor, also.

One thing that my older brother and I really enjoyed was the scene where Dracula is watching what seems to be a parody of the ever-anticipated “Twilight” film series, and he states, “Oh, great, this is how we’re represented today?” with sarcasm. To me, this was hilarious. Of course, this is a MUCH better choice to view than ANY of the “Twilight” movies, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t “do” Twilight, or vampires, or werewolves, or anything like that, but I will make an exception with this movie, considering it clean, and not very offensive.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Claire, age 15 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—The movie’s start showed in a very short time what it was about, and, as a Christian, I do not intend letting my children watch movies with voodoo, Halloween, vampires and extremely scary scenes: Dracula and his teeth… exploding all over the screen. My youngest, 3 year old girl would especially not have enjoyed it. We watched 5 min. I made a remark in “what kind of rubbish do they show us beforehand”… soon to realise that the movie started… !!! This is the movie… Sorry, bad is bad, is not from my God, is not for me or my family. We did not watch the rest. Is not needed. If not for Christ, then one is against Christ. I choose not to choose against Christ and will teach my children not tolerate any satanistic flavors.
—Fred, age 42 (South Africa)
Negative—I do not intend to see this movie. The whole vampire thing has become very bland today. Now, I know this movie is not intended to lure people into occultism and/or satanism. I just will not view it; the plot looks like it could have been put into a better method than showing off vampires, mummies, etc. This film is not for me, but if you wish to watch it for yourself, may God protect you.
—Peter, age 22 (USA)

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