July 11th, 2018
MOVIE: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
DIRECTED BY: GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY
STARRING: ADAM SANDLER; SELENA GOMEZ; ANDY SAMBERG; KATHRYN HAHN; STEVE BUSCEMI
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
Ahh yes, time for the third installment into the Hotel Transylvania series, which I know you were eagerly awaiting. My words may be loaded with sarcasm, but I didn’t hate the first two animated films, I just don’t think about them either. Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) is back with his monster friends, running the luxury hotel for ghouls and the ghoulish. This time around, the Hotel Transylvania team, directed again by Genndy Tartakovsky, decided to send this series to die out at sea…literally. Drac is lonely, cooped up in his castle, so daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) thinks it would be great for everybody to take a vacation cruise to the lost city of Atlantis. Some hijinks take place between the various characters (Wayne the Werewolf and his hundreds of pups, Frankenstein’s monster, Griffen the invisible man, and more), but what Dracula doesn’t know is that his enemy Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) has devised a plan to take out the lord of darkness once and for all. The final result is that Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, is a film that makes sure to move fast with bright colors, so kids can’t see the lazy writing floating to the surface.
Written by Michael McCullers and co-written by Tartakovsky, a major problem with HT3 is a predictable and lazy plot, mixed with multiple pointless minor subplots. The stories main focus is on Dracula, who falls in love for the ship’s captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), this is strange, because in monster world they are only supposed to “Zing” once…or so they say. What Dracula does not know is that Ericka is related to Van Helsing and devises her own plan to rid all the monsters. The sub-plots are either pointless or not funny. One involves Mavis, her laid back human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg), and son Dennis who sneaks his massive pug dog on the ship using a hat and trench coat. Werewolf Wayne and his wife become stunned by the freedom they have after discovering the boats child daycare. And then there is Dracula’s father Vlad (voiced by Mel Brooks), who saunters around in a skimpy bathing suit. Each subplot is more insignificant than the next, not to mention I don’t think kids found them very funny, resulting in a monster sized nothing burger.
That will ultimately be the question the audience will ask themselves, did they find Hotel Transylvania 3 funny or just a pointless sugar rush for the kids? I think it is the latter. The animation is not an entire waste, as Tartakovsky has a history of creating sharp edged, gangly characters, as he did in Samurai Jack or Dexter’s Laboratory. It’s everything else that never works. Sandler uses his patented gibberish voice (HT3 passes it off as Dracula speaking “Transylvanian”), throws in an abundance of fart jokes (Garlic makes Dracula fart a lot), and finishes with a song battle, which includes a 90’s pop-song that feels outdated and unoriginal. I know that most films for kids are an hour and thirty minute escape for all, but don’t we hold our animated movies to a higher standard now? Much like my review for Early Man, I know not all movies are Pixar, but animated features don’t need to be dumbed down to Sandler-level stupidity.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation ends up being lost at sea. This is an animated feature that succeeds at being both hyperactive and failing to generate anything memorable for us to enjoy. I would not put it at the disaster level of say The Emoji Movie or the lame Minions movie. It’s just nothing that moves the needle on animated cinema. These may be some of Hollywood’s most celebrated supernatural characters, but Hotel Transylvania 3 is a movie with plenty of vacancy.
Written by: Leo Brady