Hotel Transylvania - 2012
Age-appropriateness: cartoonish violence, includes paranormal activity and monsters
Overview: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teenaged daughter. Lots of fun monsters come together for a pretty simple movie with juvenile humor. The core of the film is based on a parent learning that if he wants his child to grow up, he has to let her go.
Themes: parenting, parents letting go, freedom, trust, monsters, stereotypes, father/daughter, friendships, love
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Helicopter Parenting. Do you ever think your parent is like a “helicopter” around you? Is there ever a time you’d like a little more space?
Drac has trouble letting Mavis go. Drac tends to initially be a “helicopter” parent in that when Mavis first leaves home, he follows her around thinking he’s protecting her.
2. Stereotypes. Have you ever made assumptions about someone without getting to know them first?
Drac admits he might be making wrongful assumptions about the dangers of humans. Everyone thought Johnny was dangerous without ever truly getting to know him. He was guilty of stereotyping humans in a negative way. A stereotype is what you think about a person based on how they look on the outside, which may be unfair or untrue.
3. Trust. What types of people can you trust? Who are people that are untrustworthy?
Drac tells Johnny that it’s okay for Mavis to trust him. Parents are here to help you know who you can trust. Trust is to believe that someone is honest and sincere.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. Parent self-evaluation: In what ways do you shelter your children in the name of protection? Proverbs 22:6 is perhaps the most well-known parenting Bible verse. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This verse implies that your children will actually one day depart from you. You only get 936 weeks with your child before they turn 18. 936 weeks to influence them before setting them out into the world. Protecting them at all costs might not actually be helping them.
Here’s a list of 10 ways to identify areas of your parenting you might be like Dracula (over-protecting at your child’s detriment):
1. You fight your child’s battles
2. You do your child’s school work
3. You solve your child’s problems for them (you don’t let them struggle)
4. You keep them within 5 feet at all times
5. You play it too safe (ultra-cautious about them getting hurt)
6. You don’t let them fail (they never have bumps or bruises)
7. When they come up with something new to try, you immediately warn them of all the dangers associated with it
8. You are the only mentor speaking into their life
9. You do all of their household chores
10. Your child has trouble making choices on their own (you make all of their choices for them)
2. Parent self-evaluation: Drac says “as a parent, you do everything you can to protect your children, even if it means breaking their trust.” Do you agree with this sentiment? Knowing that trust takes a long time to build and a second to lose, and that with kids we need to earn the right to speak into their lives, consider putting trust near the top of your priorities. What have you done lately to build trust with your child? One of the best ways to build trust is to be someone your kids can confide in. How you receive their stories/confessions can make all the difference. Remember, the goal is to connect and then correct. Listen first without jumping to judgement when they share what they’re feeling or something about their day.
3. Who was your favorite monster? Why did you like them the best?
4. Drac was pretty over-protective of Mavis. He loved her so much and wanted the best for her, yet he didn't give her enough room to grow. Do you ever feel like your parents don't give you enough space? Do you know how much your parents love you?
5. Drac admitted he was wrong and agreed to let Mavis go. He wanted what was best for her, but it was a really difficult decision. Do you ever know what to do, but find it difficult to do it? Why do you think it was so hard for Drac to let Mavis go?
6. Drac loved hanging out with all of his friends. He worked with his friends. Then, when work was over, he'd hang out with his friends. Are you satisfied with the amount of time you get to spend with your friends? What's your favorite thing to do with them?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:15 Drac has trouble letting Mavis go. Drac tends to initially be a “helicopter” parent in that when Mavis first leaves home, he follows her around thinking he’s protecting her. Do you ever think your parent is like a “helicopter” around you? Is there ever a time you’d like a little more space?
:17 In order to get Mavis to feel afraid of leaving home, Drac sets up an elaborate scheme based on a lie. This lie leads Mavis to learn to not trust her dad, the exact opposite thing that he wanted. He wanted her close, but his actions drove her away. Who is someone who told you a lie? Do you have trouble trusting that person now?
:34 People point out how weird it is for Dracula to ask for help because he such a control freak. How often do you ask other people for help? Who are some people around you that can help you with things that might be difficult for you?
:41 Drac and Johnny argue about what’s fun. Do your parents know how to have a good time? When was the last time you had a blast with your parents?
:44 Johnny explores a lot, but Mavis stays in her home. What types of things do you think Mavis is missing out on? Is there anyone in your neighborhood that you don’t see out a lot that can be invited to go and explore and have some fun?
:59 Mavis has a birthday party. What’s the best birthday party you’ve ever had? Best one you’ve ever been to?
1:08 Drac admits he might be making wrongful assumptions about the dangers of humans. Everyone thought Johnny was dangerous without ever truly getting to know him. He was guilty of stereotyping humans in a negative way. A stereotype is what you think about a person based on how they look on the outside, which may be unfair or untrue. Have you ever made assumptions about someone without getting to know them first?
1:15 Drac tells Johnny that it’s okay for Mavis to trust him. Parents are here to help you know who you can trust. Trust is to believe that someone is honest and sincere. What types of people can you trust? Who are people that are untrustworthy?