Frantic. Frenetic. Frenzied. Hyperactive. The English language is rich in words that mean “too damn fast.” There is hardly a moment to breathe in this story. Only ninety minutes long, but it feels a lot longer because there’s no place to rest.
The story is not bad. Count Dracula has built a resort for all the persecuted monsters of the world to hide out from the torch-waving, pitchfork-carrying angry mobs of yore. The monsters are terrified of humans (like Monsters, Inc.). Here he has raised and sheltered his daughter, Mavis, who has just reached her sweet-118th birthday. She longs to see the outside world (like The Little Mermaid), but Dad has employed a lot of strategies to keep her at home. Enter a lost hiker (like The Rocky Horror Picture Show). They fall in love. Drac must plot to get him out of the hotel while concealing that he’s a human. Precious little original here (like Ice Age: Continental Drift).
It’s designed well … and what else is new? Nearly all these new CGI animations are bursting with creativity in the visuals. It’s the story where most of them come up short. There are lots of visual jokes and funny dialogue. The monsters: The invisible man is a pair of glasses; Frankenstein and his bride, always coming apart at the seams; a critter made of lime Jell-O; the werewolves and their litter of about a hundred piranha-like offspring; shrunken heads hanging from all the doorknobs; the mummy; bigfoot; various zombies. Dracula is a good character (he’s voiced by Adam Sandler, but he doesn’t sound like Adam Sandler, so that’s okay), and so is Mavis, who dresses like a Goth, naturally. The dude from outside is annoying. The individual parts are all okay, but it’s the putting together into a story we care about where it falls short. Everything moves so fast there’s no chance to savor anything. There are music interludes meant to appeal to the younger crowd, and they really added nothing to the story or even the atmosphere.
There were interesting questions left unanswered that might have made for a more interesting plot. How is this human/vampire romance, for instance? I guess they could have asked Bella Swan. I can see awkward moments, what with her bursting into flame when the sunlight hits her. Maybe she should just have bitten him. And there’s the age difference, he being old, around 25, and she a sweet little youth of only 118, which is about 13 in vampire years, isn’t it?
When do you think people will get tired of these things? When will CGI pyrotechnics lose their ability to impress by themselves? For me, that time has come already.