By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

With ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania, and soon, Frankenweenie in theaters, horror stories have become material adapted and made more palatable for family audiences, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I absolutely adored ParaNorman and actually enjoyed Hotel Transylvania much more than I expected. With Adam Sandler and his usual buddies in the voice cast, I felt a bit uncertain that this movie would actually deliver.  Director Genndy Tartakovsky and screenwriters Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel, Todd Durham, Dan Hagerman, and Kevin Hagerman, thankfully, create a fun and witty film which audiences of all ages should enjoy.

Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) run a hidden hotel which serves as a sanctuary/vacation spot for misunderstood monsters, often targeted by “regular” humans.  Every year, Drac and his buddies, which include Frankenstein (Kevin James), Wayne, a werewolf, (Steve Buscemi), Murray the mummy (Cee Lo Green), and Griffin the invisible man (David Spade), throw a huge party to celebrate Mavis’ birthday. This year marks Mavis’ 118th birthday and she is ready to leave the hotel and explore the outside world. Dracula, an over-protective father, scares her into staying; however, when a regular human named Jonathan accidentally crashes the party, Mavis becomes even more intrigued about the outside world.

Tartakovsky and his talented writers manage to make this film work well as a movie which both adults and children will find entertaining.  My fear, going into this movie, mainly had to do with the influence of Adam Sandler and his brand of cringeworthy low brow humor.  While there are a few moments of bathroom humor here and there, the writers never sink too low and keep the jokes rather charming and cute. Not all of the jokes worked for me and the story plays out quite predictably, but nevertheless, I found myself smiling and laughing often.

I have not one criticism for the voice cast; therefore, I won’t even recap the talents I listed above. The entire cast performs well and I’m happy to say that I am glad that they selected these actors for their respective roles.

I will recommend this as a full priced ticket, if taking children to see it. For adults, who just happen to love fun animated movies, I would recommend it as a matinee.  The animation is gorgeous and should be appreciated on the big screen.  As usual the 3D did not add much, and therefore, is unnecessary for the best cinematic experience.

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