The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

October 16, 2012

‘Hotel Transylvania’: Should you check in?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 — To begin with, Pixar is still king. “Hotel Transylvania” does not come close to the wonder, emotion and creativity of any of the films in the Pixar canon except maybe the two “Cars” films. But Pixar is a pretty high standard for this film from Sony Pictures Animation.

And speaking of Sony Pictures Animation, “Hotel” is not even their best work. After all, this is a company responsible for “Monster House” (an Oscar nominee), last year’s “Arthur Christ-mas” (which bombed at the box office but was listed by me as one of the five grand unseen movies of 2011), and this year’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” from the people who created “Wallace” and “Gro-mit.” All three of these films offer a great deal more for the viewer than “Hotel Transylvania” and they are available or are coming out in the next few weeks on DVD.

So how does “Hotel” match-up against a film of similar subject matter such as the animated “ParaNorman.” Both films deal with frightening creatures including zombies. Both films have lots of humor. But there is much more truth, wisdom, and originality in Norman’s story than I ever found at the “Hotel.”

And speaking of originality, as I watched “Hotel” with my children, I found myself thinking back to my own childhood. Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, the men responsible for such television Christmas classics as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,”  “The Little Drummer Boy” and “The Year Without Santa Claus” made a film back in 1967 entitled “Mad Monster Party.” I saw that film when I was a young child and have never forgotten it. When I found it on DVD a few years ago, I was glad to add it to our family’s collection. I cannot help but believe that film was an inspiration for “Hotel Transylvania,” even though their plots deviate greatly as each plays out.

Another memory from my children arose in my mind as I was watching the film. Some will remember the Saturday morning series in the early seventies called “Groovie Goolies.” It is hard to imagine that this series did not also offer inspiration to the filmmakers as they planned “Hotel.” In a way, I suppose I am grateful for all the fond memories this film resurrected in my head.

With all that said, the greatest strength of the film is the animation. Bright, colorful and often filling the screen, sometimes there was so much to see that is was hard to know where to focus one’s eyes. And that is a compliment to the animators for creating awe-inspiring big moments in the film. The animation was also brilliant in several of the action sequences that often drove the film’s pace.  

On the other hand, when the scenes were less crowded, and the film action slows, the film seems to drag. Almost all films need quieter moments. At the heart of this film is a story of a vampire father who is reluctant to give his 118-year-old daughter her freedom. There are heartfelt moments along the way and some work better than others. The lesser ones do more harm than good to the over success of the film. The same is true about the humor; some jokes work, others fall flat.

But what do I know. My children liked it a lot. “Hotel Transylvania” set the record for the largest September opening ever with $42.5 million. Surely some of those people liked it more than me. I am just saying, one can find a superior animated feature in theaters or on home video. Perhaps even check out the classic “Mad Monster Party!”   

Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Maintaining hope

    Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’

    I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
    I  love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Meeting out in open helps negotiations move ahead

    RALEIGH – State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh on May 14 promising a brief legislative session this summer, but as July moves along they are still in town and tackling big issues.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry's Sketch 7.16.14.tif They don’t give a darn for Duke University

    John “Duke” Wayne’s heirs are suing Duke University over trademark rights.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    WASHINGTON - For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Patrick Gannon Don’t forget the losers in state lottery

    RALEIGH – Behind every state lottery dollar that goes to education is a loser.
    There’s also a winner – the teacher whose salary it pays, the student who gets a scholarship or the district where a new school gets built. But we hear about the winners in advertisements and in press releases.
    This column is about the losers.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hodgepodge Cooling an overheated hedgehog and other summer travel stories

    Anybody with a pet during the summer inevitably finds themselves facing this question: What do I do with my pet on vacation?
    There are kennels for dogs, day cares for cats. Shoot, you can even find a friend to take care of your guinea pig.
    But what do you do with a hedgehog?

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • North Carolina Boasts Top Wildlife Magazine and A Success Story

    The following opinion piece was released by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission:

    RALEIGH  — When Wildlife in North Carolina, the magazine published by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was named recently as the nation’s best in its category, it reflected more than accolades as a quality publication.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    CHICAGO - A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content