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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Hotel Transylvania

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Animated characters Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler, and Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez, are seen in the movie "Hotel Transylvania."
We are used to fables of humans fleeing from spooky ghouls and ghosts, but what if they were as scared of us as we are of them?

That is the premise of animated comedy "Hotel Transylvania" (Columbia) -- an enjoyable, if slightly rude, pro-family romp in which the infamous Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) has established a "monsters only" resort to provide a safe haven for spooks to relax away from the torches and pitchforks of their antagonists.

In the midst of running the popular getaway, Drac invites his fellow fiends over to celebrate his headstrong daughter Mavis' (voice of Selena Gomez) 118th birthday.

The (relatively) young Mavis, however, has other things on her mind and wants to escape the confines of the hotel and explore the outside world. Yet her father, having lost his wife many years before, is keen to protect her from being contaminated from the mortal world, going so far as lying to make her believe that humans are nothing but evil ne'er-do-wells.

So when skateboarding backpacker Jonathan (voiced by Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel by accident, the birthday girl's interest is heightened and the caped protagonist must scramble to hide Jonathan's humanity from both his guests and his intrigued offspring.

Director Genndy Tartakovsky's goofy comedy gets many of its laughs from playing on, and updating, classic horror characters. So we have a loveable working class Frankenstein (voice of Kevin James) and the overworked data processing werewolf Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi) who is being constantly nagged by his 50 children. Unfortunately, in spite of these clever twists, the picture dips its toes into the swamp of vulgarity a few times along the way to pick up a few easy laughs.

Yet while Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel's screenplay has its fair share of mildly rude flatulent humor, it also contains a striking pro-family theme in Dracula's touching relationships with his daughter, and his deceased wife over whom he is still grieving. Therefore amid the silliness come some very moving moments that will have Catholic viewers nodding in approval, as well as a conclusion that affirms the value of the family unit.

However, scary incidents that include zombies skulking around on fire, along with some mildly upsetting moments and the aforementioned gross humor, may exclude younger audiences from the party.

The film contains occasional mild scatological humor and a few scary scenes. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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