Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hotel Transylvania Review + Q&A with Genndy Tartakovsky

It's Ottawa International Animation Festival time, my favourite time of the year!

Tonight Hotel Transylvania played at the Bytowne Cinema, followed by a Q&A with director Genndy Tartakovsky. This movie is a ton of fun to watch. There is a lot of physical comedy, and fotunately it is mostly well executed. The audience was laughing the whole way through.

Going into this movie I had no idea that Adam Sandler was in it, which is for the best because, had I have know, I might not have gone to see it. Surprisingly, I never realized it was him until the credits rolled. His turn as Dracula may actually be the best performance of his career.

The story itself is pretty light. The movie is essentially an ongoing arguement between an over protective parent and his young adult daughter (at 118 years old!) who yearns to be independent and see more of the world, but interrupted by numerous action and comedy scenes, plus a touch of romance. It's a simple and fast paced story at about 1hr and 30min.

To read a bit of what director Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter's Lab, Star Wars Clone Wars) had to say after the film, hit the jump.

  • When Genndy Tartakovsky came to the project the film had been in developement for three years already. The castle model and many of the monsters had already been created; thus some aspects of the film don't resemble his usual cartoon style.

  • Adam Sandler, Fran Drescher and a few others were cast by the studio before he joined the project. He admitted that's just how it is when you work with a big studio, but he seemed to accept it without complaint and in my opinion he used their talents well. 

  • One condition he did insist upon was that Dracula's character had to be redesigned or he would not make the movie. Apparently the original design was really ugly.

  • No horror movies were used as reference for the film because the forcus was on broad comedy, not horror. There is a quick Twilight joke in there though.

  • Tartakovsky said he encouraged Adam Sandler to go outside his comfort zone with his performance. He wanted an exaggerated Dracula. This really paid off, IMO.

  • Though they mostly got on well, Tartakovsky clashed with Sandler about jokes sometimes because he didn't always get Sandler's humour until it was explained. Tartakovsky didn't make it clear whether or not  he actually removed any of Sandler's jokes, but he did mention that he thought that Adam Sandler probably hadn't experienced someone dissagreeing with him before. All I can say is, the final film did not give me the impression of an Adam Sandler movie, and that's good.

  • Kevin James plays Frankenstein (the monster, in this movie), but Sylvester Stalone was also considered for the role. It's fun to imagine what a Stallone Frankenstein might have been like.

  • David Spade had originally been cast to play Quasimodo, but was recast as Griffin the Invisible man because it seemed more "torturous." (I don't get it)

  • There is a Dexter's Lab sticker on Johnny "Johnnystein's" scooter.

  • In answer to an audience question, Tartakovsky said it was difficult for him to direct a film with a lot more dialogue than he is used to. (See Samurai Jack if you don't know what he means.) He used the old Warner Bros cartoons as an example of how you can have a lot of dialogue and still have a lot of action on screen. He also mentioned that screening for a test audience helped him with the pacing. Mr. Lucas, take note.

  • Speaking of George, Tartakovsky said it is unlikely that he will return to work on more Star Wars because he and "Georgy" didn't agree on some things. He followed that with, "I'm joking!...but it's true."

  • Apparently, after a visit to Comicon, Genndy Tartakovsky's bosses at Sony saw how much enthusiasm there still is for Samurai Jack and they are now showing interest in making a movie. He emphasized to them that it would be all 2D and flat and everything, and they are apparently cool with it.

  • 1 comment:

    1. You have written a very well written review! Kudos to you, OLS!