Genndy Tartakovsky

Genndy Tartakovsky

Hotel Transylvania marks the feature debut of a renowned figure from the world of TV animation, Genndy Tartakovsky, whose work ranges from Samurai Jack to The Powerpuff Girls. Tartakovsky, for those of you who understandably don’t remember this lil gem of a movie, also did the opening prologue for Priest, by far the most ambitious part of that movie. Ambition is certainly something that shows through in a lot of Tartakovsky’s work. There’s an artistry to Samurai Jack work we don’t see in theaters, but Tartakovsky is hoping to change that. To start, he’s made Hotel Transylvania, which the director describes as the “ultimate issue of MAD Magazine.” With all the film’s monsters bolstering with small, playful details, a MAD Magazine reference is surprisingly apt for Hotel Transylvania. Here’s what the film’s director Genndy Tartakovsky had to say about that style of the film, the ups and downs of comedy, and why he isn’t preparing for Popeye by watching Robert Altman’s “classic” over and over again:

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Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is an unrestrained, unabashed kids movie. Even with all the classic monsters involved, director Genndy Tartakovsky has no interest in joining this year’s ParaNorman in being unafraid to scare a few kids. Surprisingly, that happens to be Hotel Transylvania‘s most charming trait. As the classic mythology goes, Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs a high-end, invisible hotel for all his fellow monster buddies, from “Frankenstein” to the invisible man. It’s not exactly a business venture, though, as it was mainly created to keep his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), safe from the world of humans. Now, turning 118 years old, Mavis is coming of age and wants to explore the world, and Dracula will do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen. With all the talk of humans, it’s no surprise one of them, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), actually turns up to both drive Dracula mad and fall in love with his daughter.

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Hotel Transylvania

The first thing you notice in the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania is Adam Sandler doing his impression of Adam Sandler doing a vampire voice. It’s unmistakable, it’s annoying, and it’s a key argument against movie stars taking jobs from trained voice over actors. However, the feature directing debut from the remarkably talented Genndy Tartakovsky looks about as charming as they come. The plot is simple: Dracula creates a hotel haven for his monster pals (and to keep his daughter Mavis safe from the Hawaiian shirted humans), but a couch surfer stumbles upon their hideaway and proceeds to fall in love with the blood-sucker’s offspring. Some of the jokes are obvious – Kevin James’s character falls down a lot even in the world of animation – but it definitely shows potential. Check it out for yourself:

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Seeing as he’s largely built his entire career on doing stupid voices, it’s kind of strange that Adam Sandler hasn’t done more voice work. It seems like working in animation would work well with his approach to acting, which basically consists of showing up on set wearing shorts and a hoodie, and then looking into the camera and yelling something like “gobbledy-goo!” Give the man something more appealing to work with than 8 Crazy Nights, and animated movies could be the perfect way to utilize his talents. It’s probably too early to go jumping to conclusions, but the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania shows some indication that this might be that material. The big thing that Hotel Transylvania has going for it is that it was directed by the great Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), and if this new ad is any indication, that’s going to translate into a lot of impressive visuals and attention to detail. The Gothic scenery here is certainly more pleasant to look at than the wall-to-wall product placement that we get in most Sandler movies, so that’s going to put this head and shoulders above something like Just Go With It right out of the gate. And somehow, hearing Sandler do a goofy Dracula voice alongside animated visuals is so much easier to digest than hearing him do a goofy lady voice while dressed in drag was in Jack & Jill.

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When it was first announced that Adam Sandler and his friends were going to be providing the voice cast for the upcoming animated monster movie Hotel Transylvania, I didn’t panic. Even though Adam Sandler movies have been traveling on an increasingly downward slope to the point where he’s now one of the most embarrassing figures in Hollywood, and even though these are the guys who are responsible for the crime against humanity that was Grown Ups, I didn’t throw a fit. And that’s mainly because the movie is being directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who has done pretty universally amazing animated work on things like Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Surely he wouldn’t mess this movie up, right? And Sandler and his buddies won’t have near as much opportunity to goof off, throw a bunch of half-baked, juvenile crap at the screen, and call it a day when working in the world of animation. So there wasn’t much to fear here, right? Well, I must have either missed the fact or blocked out the fact that Miley Cyrus is going to be voicing the character of Dracula’s daughter Mavis, because now I’m really starting to get scared about this movie. There are few things in the world I find more gratingly incompetent than the sound of Disney actresses trying to deliver comedy on Disney TV shows. If Cyrus brings the comedic sensibilities of Hannah Montana to the big screen, where comedic delivery means shouting things as […]

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Normally, when I hear that either Adam Sandler or Kevin James has a new movie coming out, I wince in anticipation of it. Kind of like when you know you’re about to get hit by a baseball. I didn’t quite have this reaction to the news that they’ve signed on to Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, however, and there are a couple reasons for that. The first reason is that the new film is set to be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who has done some great TV work with Samurai Jack, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Dexter’s Laboratory. Everything I’ve seen from Tartakovsky has been slick, stylish, and interesting. I’m excited at the prospect of what he might come up with when jumping from small screen to big, and Sandler and James’ recent track records aren’t enough to deter me from seeing this one.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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