Hotel Transylvania appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I expected a strong visual experience from Hotel, and the Blu-ray delivered the goods.
Sharpness remained positive at almost all times. A few slightly soft elements appeared on a few occasions, but those seemed minor. Instead, the movie mostly offered tight, concise imagery. Jaggies and moiré effects failed to exist, and no edge enhancement appeared. The transfer came completely free from source flaws; this was a perfectly clean presentation.
Hotel opted for a fairly amber/orange palette to reflect the candlelight environment of the castle. A few other hues emerged as well, but those dominated. The tones seemed well-depicted and rich. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows appeared clean and concise. I felt pleased with this appealing presentation.
I also felt the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Hotel seemed strong. Given its story, the movie didn’t offer constant action, but it boasted more than enough good sequences to make it engaging. The track offered plenty of flight and other active material to create a broad, involving setting. It also contributed a lot of localized speech and other components that allowed it to open up the tale.
In addition, audio quality was strong. Speech seemed natural and distinctive, and music offered nice range and vivacity. Effects came across as accurate and dynamic. They boasted fine punch and appeared concise and full. Although the audio didn’t always dazzle, it soared often enough to earn an “A-“.
As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Genndy Tartakovsky, producer Michelle Murdocca and visual effects supervisor Daniel Kramer. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the movie’s long development period, cast and performances, story/character choices, visual and character design, music, animation, editing and connected topics.
While the track mostly focuses on technical areas, it doesn’t dwell on these to an extreme, and it never becomes dry or dull. The participants cover a nice array of subjects and do so in an informative manner. This becomes an enjoyable chat.
Next we find an animated short called Goodnight Mr. Foot. It runs four minutes, seven seconds and focuses on Bigfoot’s visit to the Hotel Transylvania. Cute but forgettable, the short becomes a minor diversion.
Three Deleted Scenes pop up here. We locate “Prologue” (3:43), “Shadows” (1:03) and “Caught in the Act” (1:48). The “Prologue” lets us see how Dracula met his wife. Moments in the final cut render this segment redundant; the film works better when it views this material in flashback.
“Shadows” shows some of the monsters as they make their way to the Hotel, while “Act” offers an alternate musical performance. The latter does little for me, but “Shadows” offers a fun segment that probably should’ve been in the final cut. Given it’s the only fully-animated scene of the three, I suspect it got cut very late in the game.
Two featurettes follow. Meet the Staff goes for six minutes, 29 seconds and provides info from Tartakovsky, Murdocca, and actors Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Andy Samberg, and David Spade. We learn about cast, performances and characters. Not much real info emerges, but the shots of the actors at work can be fun.
During the three-minute, 44-second Making the Hotel, we hear from Murdocca, James, Tartakovsky, executive producer Allen Covert, senior animation supervisor James Crossley and 3D stereoscopic supervisor Von Williams. “Hotel” looks at visual design and animation. The show presents a few decent insights but it’s too short and superficial to tell us much.
After this, we discover three Progression Reels. We get “Genndy Blur” (2:44), “Mavis Ventures Out” (1:32) and “Look of Picture” (3:59). These show some sequences in various levels of completion; narration informs us of animation techniques. Despite the brevity of the clips, they offer nice notes.
Up next, we see a Music Video for “Problem (Monster Remix)” by Becky G Featuring Will.I.Am. This video mixes lip-synch footage of Ms. G with shots from the movie. It’s an annoying song and a forgettable video.
We also get a Behind the Scenes look at the music video and song. It lasts two minutes, 21 seconds and offers notes from Becky G and Will.I.Am. Mostly we hear that Becky is great. Yawn.
The disc opens with ads for The Smurfs 2 and Arthur Christmas. Previews adds promos for The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Adventures in Zambezia. No trailer for Hotel appears here.
Despite the occasional laugh, Hotel Transylvania mostly falls flat. It regurgitates too many clichés without much to make the story fresh. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture and audio as well as a moderate array of bonus materials. While the movie has potential, the end result seems lackluster.