Even in an extraordinarily weak year for animation, “Hotel Transylvania” did not receive an Academy Award nomination for best animated feature. And it’s no surprise: this derivative monster tale featuring Adam Sandler is a Frankenstein-like assemblage of bits ‘n’ pieces from other movies.
Actually, Frankenstein himself is here (voiced by Kevin James), along with Dracula (Sandler), the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), the Mummy (CeeLo Green) and a rogues’ gallery of every other creature feature from the past 80 years. The set-up is that they’ve all come to the hotel for their once-a-year celebratory bash, centered around the birthday of Dracula’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez).
Mavis is in her rebellious teenage phase – it happens around age 118 for vampires – and wants to venture forth and see the world. But Drac and the rest of the gruesome crew say it’s too dangerous, what with all the humans out there with their torches, pitchforks and paranoia. Then the red-blooded problem arrives on their doorstep in the form of Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a dim-witted backpacker dude.
The animators did their job creating a visually vibrant world, but the script has all the life of a vampire with a stake through its heart.