This year is really a good year for spooky 'Addams Family' style halloween goth freaks like myself hehe. So far we've had 'ParaNorman' 'Frankenweenie' and now this Adam Sandler animated vehicle. Yes that's right...Adam 'I'm not funny anymore' Sandler.
After about 10mins into this film you can tell its clearly been made for kids. Nothing wrong with that of course but this isn't 'Toy Story' smart with little winks for the older folk, its way more tuned for the younglings. This is very evident with silly jokes, huge prat falls and a very loud in your face approach much like many kiddie cartoons, dare I say childish to the max.
Yes childish but did I expect more? well maybe yes, an Adam Sandler fronted film, I did think it might be a little more risky in places or even a tad scary judging by the concept. The best thing about the film in many sequences is the dialog from the brilliant voice cast line up. This is where adults will enjoy especially with the dry wit of Spade and Buscemi who give 'Werewolf' and 'The Invisible Man' some cracking moments of speech. Naturally Kevin James is in here too, can't have an Adam Sandler film without his tubby sidekick it seems. There was a time when it was Rob Schneider, not anymore.
The animation was 50/50 for me to be honest, at times some sequences and character movements looked fantastic. The flashback sequences for 'Dracula' were especially lovely with stunning colours, where as the best animated motion capture again was easily 'Dracula'. Some gorgeous looking work as we see 'Drac' glide across the hallways, flap and twirl is cape, slink amongst the shadows and sail through the air...its all in the cape work.
Other characters are well designed too, I like the blue collar look of 'Werewolf', the obvious simplicity of 'The Invisible Man', the gigantic foot of I presume 'Yeti' and 'Mummy' who looked a lot like 'Oogie Boogie' from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.
There are an impressive range of monsters shown throughout the film from standard skeletons to a 'Pumpkin King' like character. The main guys are the best looking where as the rest don't seem quite as well crafted.
I must just add, is it wrong that I found the young female character of 'Mavis', 'Drac's' daughter, kinda hot?. I mean look at it from my point of view, I'm into the whole goth look and vibe. So for me the sight of an attractive slim pale female with black lips, dark eye shadow, black fingernails and raven black hair wearing a surprisingly sexy tight black number complete with arm stockings was really quite sexy haha. It was like watching a young animated Winona Ryder! rawr!!.
But I digress, the film is a simple love tale between 'Mavis' and a random human lad who turns up at the hotel, nothing more. Its very sweet, very charming and will thrill the kids. I did enjoy it mainly for the monster mash aspect and of course the kooky vampire/haunted mansion side of it (if you haven't already guessed).
The animation was a slight let down for me as I did expect something a bit more original, quirky or diverse from director Geddy Tartakovsky. It all looks good but too generic for me, nothing trailblazing like his 'Star Wars' work. Also was hoping for something a little more adult orientated in places with the monsters but alas. Jokes are a bit forced, hated the pop songs included and the horrendous ending almost ruins the entire film Jesus! but it still just about made me smile.
Not as unique, amusing or moving as 'ParaNorman', so far that is the front runner for fun halloween flicks. Watch out for Geddy's unique and much better hand drawn animation in the end credits, maybe they should have done the whole film this way?.