Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Review

Has there ever been as lazy of a topic as a cruise ship movie? Where all the characters of an existing franchise (in this case Dracula and all his monster buddies) get on a ship and take a vacation. Do film studios save money doing this plot or something?

Well, regardless of why this film happened, it happened. And somehow the creators of Hotel Transylvania 3 make it work for the best. Taking the greatest elements from the past films and boiling them down into a slightly less memorable and entertaining experience.

In the past I haven’t shied away from professing my love for the previous two Hotel Transylvania flicks. Lauding them as energetic, creative, and downright hilarious, my opinions of the franchise aren’t typically shared by many. Yet, miraculously after three movies, a television show, and a short film, critics seem to finally be letting up on the Hotel Transylvania series. Receiving mixed-to-poor critical reception in past releases, people seem to finally be picking up what Hotel Transylvania is putting down.

Now, if you’ve ever seen a movie, and I really do mean ever, then the main premise of Hotel Transylvania 3 will bring you no surprises. It’s a standard kids movie plot that parents and kids alike will predict way before the ending. Don’t let that scare you away from viewing this picture, as there are many absurd things throughout that can keep you engaged.

Jam-packed with slapstick humor and visual gags, all the jokes in Hotel Transylvania 3 involve the same theme of monsters and vacation. Frankenstein gets buried on the beach, gremlins have an airline service, and a skeleton eats an entire buffet table. It’s pure nonsense. And every available second of screen time not dedicated to progressing the plot is spent on these jokes. Often the ridiculous humor lands laughs. Or at the very least, light chuckles.

I’m hesitant to call this film “comedically bold”, but it takes a lot of surprising chances that most kids’ films this deep into a franchise wouldn’t make. Heck, the climax of the film is a dance fight that includes the Macarena, and it’s actually kind of cute. Enough said.

Everyone (including the extensive voice cast) returns for this free for all adventure. The animation of the characters is highly expressive and exaggerated, really allowing the voice actors free reign in their portrayals of these colorful monsters. I especially love Adam Sandler as Dracula, who’s quirky, charming, and quite a goofball. All without the annoyingness and aggravation that accompanies many Sandler performances.

Yes, the third time around isn’t as exciting or funny as fans of the series may wish, but that’s to be expected with a film whose sub-title is Summer Vacation. I mean, at least it wasn’t Chipwrecked.

The Verdict: C

-Zachary Flint

Hotel Transylvania 2 Review

Over the years Adam Sandler has acquired a stigma as a horrible writer, actor, and director. This often times feels very warranted, as his films seem to get progressively worse (like Pixels and Jack and Jill). However when we stigmatize him as a horrible filmmaker we blind ourselves to when Sandler actually creates something worthwhile and meaningful. Cue the Hotel Transylvania movies.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is an animated film starring Selena Gomez and Adam Sandler (it is also written by Sandler as well). It takes place shortly after the events of the first film, with Dracula’s daughter Mavis (a vampire played by Gomez) marrying her fiance Jonathan (who is a human played by Andy Samberg). Mavis later tells Dracula that she is pregnant, and eventually gives birth to her child Dennis (Asher Blinkoff). Dracula hopes that by Dennis’s fifth birthday he will grow his fangs and become a vampire like him. To help aid this process, Dracula sends Mavis and Jonathan on a vacation to California while he and his usual goofy friends try to bring the fangs out of Dennis. A simple plot with a lot of fun.

Hotel Transylvania 2 has a somewhat similar moral messages as in the first installment. It’s a ‘don’t be judgmental’ and ‘accept people for who they are’ kind of mentality. Even though they are kind of recycled from the first one, these are pretty good messages for children and the film uses them well.

I usually am not a fan of the Adam Sandler corral of actors. Kevin James is one of my least favorite actors and David Spade really gets on my nerves. Nonetheless both these guys are in the film and they really work. In fact, all the cast for Hotel Transylvania 2 fits like a glove. Steve Buscemi plays a werewolf who has over one hundred children (or were-pups?). He slouches over when he walks and wears this hilarious business casual suit. His character just looks like a dad who has given up on life, which is similar to how he acts. I thought Buscemi’s character was hysterical because he really got me laughing.

Another hilarious character worth mentioning is Blobby. Blobby is a green gelatinous blob monster. He cannot speak, he can only grunt while vibrating his body. I think that Blobby is the perfect example of why this films humor works. Our cast puts Blobby through lots of comedic physical comedy, constantly causing him serious pain. This only gets funnier as the film goes on and they call back to it frequently throughout.

The imagery in this film is phenomenal as well. Fans of the Universal monster films are sure to like this one, because they have all the great monsters. Dracula’s hotel/castle is awesome looking and I love that the film allows us to see the goings-on of the hotel (like the zombie bellhops).

The climax to the film was to my surprise very fast pace. I knew it was going to be good, just not this good. They throw in a couple of intense moments as well as some heartfelt scenes too. It was definitely more than I was expecting and was a whole lot of fun.

I absolutely love both Hotel Transylvania films. Everything about them just works so well! The imagery, humor, characters, design, it’s all there. I would recommend these to just about anyone who’d be willing to see them! The characters and story are enough to entertain children, and the humor is witty enough to entertain adults. I hope that in the future Adam Sandler will stick to making family comedies like this, because Hotel Transylvania is a great film nobody should miss.

-Zachary Flint