Thursday, September 27, 2012
Hotel Transylvania is the story of a single father, Dracula, played actually quite well by Adam Sandler who has lost his wife to humans. He now lives in Transylvania with his daughter Mavis, played innocently enough by Selena Gomez. Dracula, in his heartache and intent to protect his daughter from humans he builds a Hotel where all of his and her friends needs will be met without ever having to venture around humans. Mavis is turning 118 years of age and entering into adulthood, or would that be monsterhood? While the Hotel plans to open numerous guests arrive as Dracula has a grand-opening and Mavis Birthday Party to kick everything off. Everyone from The Abominable Snowman, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Blob and many others arrive to celebrate. Also appearing, quite by accident, is a young human, (humans are feared among the monster kingdom for their treatment of monsters in the past) named Jonathan. Jonathan and Mavis meet up and a Romeo Juliet themed plot advances. Forbidden love mixed in with quite a few laughs and some surprisingly scary moments for a contemporary animated film, in fact, some moments that had me feeling better about not taking my 2-year-old granddaughter to the advance screening I attended. The story is an enjoyable, if not predictable one that picks up quite nicely.
In Hotel Transylvania we see an advancement of character in Adam Sandler’s character Dracula partially because of the quality of animation. Sandler is not known as the most remarkable actor in the business but he can tell a good story, as he has indicated from his contributions to other film, he can also have fun with his voice. Fortunately, the animation captures emotions in his character that I am not sure could be caught from his own natural appearance. We see his character in regards to his opinion of humans and his relationship with his daughter grow. It isn’t just his character we see something in though; we also see it in Mavis and Jonathan. We see a love blossom that transcends animation; it moves to tell us something about ourselves as humans and the role some of us have taken on as parents.
There is a strong story concept in Hotel Transylvania that would not only be wonderful for us as adults to explore, but to explore with our children for those of us with children. There is a bias many individuals have towards others that are rooted in hatred, prejudice, and perception or stereotypes. We can especially see this now when politics, religion or election cycles are in place. It doesn’t take long for those involved in social media such as facebook to see these things. Old friends take on bitter roles, opinions are based on who is of one party or another and long lasting relationships can be ruined. One has to wonder what small children learn when watching their parents behave in such a way. Even for those who don’t have children, we as a society have to have some level of concern of the perspectives presented. As is the norm for many children, there is often a place where rebellion occurs, rebellion against the things observed by ones parents and others in society. We certainly see that here. It is one thing that gives some measure of hope though. It is possible that in areas where we as parents and/or adults have blown it, that a small child can relearn or learn anew for the first time something of value, such as the way to treat others, to love anew, and to throw away the prejudices and hatred of the past. It is here that Hotel Transylvania shines. We don’t just see the ability of a child, even an adult child, to change; we see the opinions attitudes and actions of adults can change.
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