Movie Review Hotel Transylvania 3 – Summer Vacation
While it isn’t monstrously funny, Hotel Transylvania 3 is pleasant, pretty, and fun. It’s probably the best thing Adam Sandler has been attached to in years.
Someone I know really wanted to see Hotel Transylvania 3 this weekend, so I tagged along. I was reluctant to see the third film in a franchise that had never piqued my interest. Add in Adam Sandler and his crew as most of the voice actors and my blood began to run cold. My trepidation decreased greatly when I found out that the series is written and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who was the creative force behind my favorite late 90’s cartoon series, The Powerpuff Girls. While Hotel Transylvania 3 doesn’t reach those hallowed halls of hilarity, it was a good time.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) has been a little down as of late. The hotel is busy doing monster business, but more importantly, Drac is lonely. Now that his daughter Mavis (VO: Selena Gomez) has a family of her own, he’s begun to realize how much he misses having some “Zing” (the monster equivalent of true love) in his life. The only problem: monsters only Zing once. For Dracula, that was years ago. Hundreds of years.
High Rankin’ Animation
The first thing that I noticed was the animation style in Hotel Transylvania 3. The commercials all made the animation look chintzy compared to recent extravaganzas like Moana or The Incredibles 2. On the big screen, however, it looked great.
The CGI is distinct from the industry standard “Just make it look like Frozen”; the characters and environments have weight and depth to them. HT 3 looks like an HD re-imagining of the classic stop-motion animated films that Rankin and Bass churned out back in the day. The character models look like they are made out of real material, and textures like fur, fangs, and hair (there’s a lot of hair in this film) look great. The ship that the Dracula family cruise on looks like Rankin and Bass had a collaboration with Tim Burton. Considering those two sources were the de facto animated monster movie makers of their respective time, it was a logical yet bold decision to animate the film the way they did. It pays off: the film feels immediately familiar, yet modern and stylish.
Twice Bitten, Once Shy
“When are the dirty jokes gonna drop?” was the question I had in the back of my head for the first half of the film. The answer, thankfully, is never. Despite this film being packed to the rafters with comedians who trade in potty humor (Sandler is joined by David Spade, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, and even Mel Brooks!), Hotel Transylvania 3 plays for solid PG content. The jokes are rarely hilarious, but they are often sweet and charming.
Everyone gets a chance to shine too, keeping the jokes fresh, frequent, and varied. While Dracula is off dealing with the possibility of falling in Zing again, his friends and family have their own adventures. My personal favorites were the Wolf-Man family (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon), who have about a billion pups to look after. Every time they popped up they lightened the mood. They even got the ratio of dumb-dog to run-time down cold, something other recent animated comedies couldn’t manage!
A Pleasant Trip
I was very pleasantly surprised by Hotel Transylvania 3. It was well paced, well acted, and very charming. If you are looking for a film to take children over 5 (there was a little girl at our showing who was probably too young to see a monster movie; while I didn’t consider the movie scary in the least, some of the monster designs spooked her), you could do much worse than Hotel Transylvania 3. Just don’t eat too much garlic before hand: garlic intolerance is real, yo.