FILM REVIEW: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION
BY KYLE ARANGO
Monster movies used to be the pinnacle of summer box office enjoyment. You had Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, and of course Dracula who all become iconic monsters. What happens when you take those characters and reformat them to be everyday head of families? You get Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. This is the third film in the Hotel Transylvania franchise and it has reached new lows. The potential and idea that were there in the first two films are now gone and what we have instead is light fluff for kids, with no real rhyme or reason.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation picks up where Dracula is feeling lonely and is looking for someone to “zing” with again. His daughter Mavis sees his depression and decides to take the entire hotel on a cruise for some nice relaxing fun. The setup is ok, but from there everything just lands with a thud. Instead of taking the time to really explore Dracula’s depression, we just get empty jokes and gags to get a good chuckle out of kids. There is not attempt here to make this a universally enjoyable film for both kids and adults, which has become the focal point to give kid films longevity. “It’s not meant for adults,” no longer works nowadays when films like Incredibles 2, Coco, and Zootopia convey deeper meanings and become staples for the whole family. Hotel Transylvania 3 makes no attempt at that. This is just a film for kids whose parents will be miserable throughout.
We see the entire voice crew return, that being Adam Sandler and friends,3 and they do exactly what you’d expect, give minimal effort. They are playing these rich characters with tons of material to play off of and they don’t use it. Instead, Adam Sandler turns Dracula into Adam Sandler with his childish voice and it is like shoving glass in your ears. Kevin James turns Frankenstein into Kevin James. David Spade turns the Invisible Man into David Spade and so on and so forth. The only voice acting that actually attempts at being a unique character is Selena Gomez of all people. She feels like someone who has genuine feeling for her family and that is a credit to Gomez’s performance. Otherwise, we are just seeing famous comedians playing themselves in monster’s bodies and that is a shame.
One of the most troubling things about Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is its looseness in the storytelling. We see multiple assassination attempts on Dracula’s life within the film and they play it off as a joke. He is about to be killed but they think it’s ok because a Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” is playing in the background. Kids see this and think it’s funny when parents might be bored by the predictability. Dracula eating garlic which is poison to him is played off with a fart joke. This is the humor you can expect. There are some moments of light laughter which include a giant dog named Sprinkles and a blob named Blobby which are constantly cut to and they offer some comedic relief. The final ending battle can also be entertaining if you are in the right frame of mind, but my head hurt from rolling my eyes so much that I couldn’t even give it a chance. Is it funny to watch monsters dance? Yes, but if that is your solution to everything then that is just lazy writing.
At the end of it all, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is a dumb summer animated film. It is a children’s movie that knows it is a children’s movie and will only entertain kids as a result. It succeeds at being a kid’s film, but only at a c-. There is just nothing particularly remarkable or memorable here. If you liked the first two, you’ll probably enjoy this but we do not need a Hotel Transylvania 4 in the future.