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‘Hotel’ offers a family-friendly haven

By Sister Helena Burns FSP | Contributor
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hotel Transylvania” is the story of a strong non-buffoon father-figure (Dracula) and his teenage vampire daughter, Mavis. Dracula built “Hotel Transylvania” as a “refuge” and “sanctuary” for all his fellow monsters. What are they escaping from? Torch-bearing, garlic- wearing, wooden-stake-wielding humans.

But a happy-go-lucky backpacking teenage human, Jonathan (Mavis’ age, of course), finds his way into the castle-hotel. Dracula wants to kick him out, but sees that Mavis is sweet on him.

Rather than ruin her 118th birthday party, he disguises Jonathan as a partyplanning teen Frankenstein, and plans to expel him after the party. Things go awry and Drac has to confront his control-freak ways, fears, and reconsider what is best for Mavis.

What’s different and good about this story? Dad really loves his daughter and wants to protect her. (Mom is deceased.) Jonathan also really loves Mavis and wants to do what’s good for her. However, both Dad and Jonathan choose the road of deception as the way to go. But Mavis is not stupid, and can’t be cooped up forever.

I love that Mavis is not a brat, but she pushes back. I love that Mavis is forever 18 (not 14 or 15) and really is ready to take responsibility for her life. Too many films, animated and otherwise, routinely make kids, pre-teens and young teens wise beyond their years, omniscient snarksters that have to endure their bumbling, often morally deficient, immature and apologetic parents.

Drac eventually apologizes (as parents should when they’re in the wrong), but not for his conscientious care and protection of Mavis.

There’s a sense that young love can become true love (for both Drac and his deceased wife, as well as for Mavis and Jonathan), and that the goal of true love is to commit to each other, wed, build young lives together, help each other grow, etc., rather than “have fun” for 20 years and first think of settling down when you’re 40.

There is a slight overtone of “the one” (there’s only one person out there just for you), but it seems the point is that when you feel a “zing” for someone (and they feel it for you) — not to be confused with normal but random, non-personal sexual attraction — you should pay attention.

This is Dracula’s story, and it’s beautiful to see the lengths to which he will go for his daughter’s happiness.

A grand ghoulish time for the whole family. It’s not the least bit scary, only hilarious. Think TV’s “Munsters” or “Addams Family.”