The New York Times has flicked off this film with a 180-word blurb by third-string reviewer Neil Genzlinger. He essentially says, “The story flags, but the animation… is never less than vivid.”

Betsy Sharkey of The Los Angeles Times calls Hotel Transylvania “…a droll bit of cartoon fluff”. Sharkey gives the film a mixed-to-the-positive review, but calls attention to what she calls the “clash between the character animation and the storytelling style”. She states,

“Hotel Transylvania” marks the feature-directing debut for animator Genndy Tartakovsky, the artistic mind behind such cult TV favorites as “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack.” The hyperkinetic cartoon vibe and visual style of those series can be felt in the film, with the animation team exaggerating effects rather than going for a more life-like design, as motion capture in particular has aimed to do in recent years.

I’ve seen the film and I liked it. In fact, I saw it a few days ago – and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I’m going to go see it again. To be sure, Genndy Tatakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania is not the heaviest, most important animated film of the year. But it’s good entertainment and even more important, I think it represents a trend that I hope to encourage.

Genndy made a full “cartoon” feature – with caricatured creatures, comically exaggerated poses and physically impossible “gags” that would make no sense in the somewhat realistic worlds of Happy Feet, Rio or Shrek. Trying to make “cartoons” in CG isn’t new – it is something Pixar has been working towards since day one. Lasseter and his team of classically-trained animators have done a good job infusing Disney-style storytelling into computer generated images. So good, it permeates the entire field. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But it’s time for Hollywood’s CG features to evolve – and it looks like it will take a cartoonist to blaze that trail. I like what Genndy is bringing to the table – a sense of style and humor that pushes (however slightly) what a modern day animated feature can be. It’s a small refreshing step in a exciting direction – and I look forward to seeing where this could go.

But that’s what I think – what about you? What did you think of Hotel Transylvania? Submit your reviews and opinions in the comments section below. (As always, this talkback post is only open to those who have actually seen the film. Since we’ve seen it, we can tell if you have too. We will delete comments by those who have not actually seen the film).

Jerry Beck

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