Trailer Tuesday: Hotel Transylvania

When it comes to animation, Genndy Tartakovsky is pretty much the cartoon world's Joss Whedon, having won the adoration of many loyal fans, young and old(er). After all, Tartakovsky is the same man who gave the world Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack and the supremely brilliant 2D microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars; not to mention the animated intro for Priest (arguably the best thing about the sci-fi/supernatural actioner). Oh, and he was an instrumental figure writing, producing and directing The Powerpuff Girls.

Tartakovsky's work may be short on emotional depth but it's stratospherically tall in terms of style. With his signature, ultra-stylised, angular designs, surreal monsters and epic, meticulously choreographed action scenes - with a hefty chunk of manga influence - Tartakovsky made it cool for college age kids (I was one of them), and beyond, to watch after-school cartoons in the late 90s and early Noughties. For his fans, Tartakovsky provided a fantastic case for the decades-old "Animation is Art" argument.

Anyway, Tartakovsky has had a pretty quiet past decade. His last foray into TV animation, 2010's Sym-Bionic Titan didn't take off, and he made the move from Cartoon Network to Sony Pictures Animation early last year. Taking over directing duties from a couple of other departed helmers, Tartakovsky's first collaboration with the studio responsible for Open Season, The Smurfs and the decidedly superior Surf's Up and Arthur Christmas is the star-studded Hotel Transylvania, due for release later this year.

In this boisterous horror comedy, Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) runs a successful holiday resort in Transylvania for the world's monsters. Frankenstein's monster (Kevin James) enjoys his downtime there, the Mummy, The Invisible Man (David Spade) as well as assorted ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and werewolves (Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon). Life is continuing smoothly for the creatures of darkness until goofy human backpacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel, and Dracula has to keep the mortal away from his perpetually teenage daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez).

Hotel Transylvania may not sound like Tarakovsky, but it certainly looks like it. The animator's influence is obvious in the visuals of multi-limbed Cyclops-ian creatures and 2D silhouettes. I tend to be wary of all-star voice casts - particularly all-star comedian voice casts - because too often it suggests the filmmakers are trying too hard to be hip and hilarious (Shark Tale anyone? *shudders*). This said, I'm certainly going to be keeping an eye on Hotel Transylvania over the coming months.

Hotel Transylvania opens in 3D on 28 September in North America. According to the film's official site, the South African release date is the same.


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