Movie Review: Monsters on Vacation ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’

A scene from ‘Hotel Transylvania 3.’ Handout

Dracula’s daughter Mavis booked a cruise on a Legacy ship so their family could have more bonding time without the stress of hotel work. After more than a century of widowhood, Drac fell in love at first sight (or “zinced” in his words) when he met the ship’s captain Ericka, despite the fact that she was a human. Drac would soon find out that Ericka came from a family whose names he knew all too well.

The animated Hotel Transylvania franchise parodies legendary characters from horror films, like Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Werewolf, the Blob, and more. However, beneath all of these silly gags and jokes lies a central theme of family relationships. So after all the easy laughs throughout the movies, there would always be moments of sentimental drama that might put a tear or two in your eyes.

The same cast of actors from the previous two Hotel Transylvania films voices the characters in this one. Adam Sandler (as Dracula), Selena Gomez (as Mavis), Andy Sandberg (as Jonathan) and Mel Brooks (as Grandpa Vlad). Sandler’s usual gang of actor friends were also there to play the other monsters: Kevin James (as Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (as Wayne the Werewolf) and David Spade (as Griffith the Invisible Man). The new members of the vocal cast were Kathryn Hahn (as Captain Ericka) and Jim Gaffigan (as Professor Van Helsing). Joe Jonas has a cameo voice as the Kraken, sea monster of Atlantis.

Dracula broke an unspoken rule in the monster world in this film when he “zinced” for the second time when he met Ericka. Supposedly, only one “zinged” once when you met the soul mate you were meant to spend forever. However, as Drac recounted with his son-in-law Jonathan in the first film (2012), Dracula’s wife, Martha, met her tragic death at the hands of a human mob. I guess after over a hundred years of loneliness Dracula deserved a second chance at love and happiness, but he had to fight to win it.

This episode introduces the character of Dracula’s nemesis in Bram Stoker’s novel, Abraham van Helsing. The Mad Professor changed his diet and mechanized parts of his body to become immortal himself. This time, van Helsing plotted to obtain a mythical device from the lost continent of Atlantis that was capable of destroying an entire civilization of monsters. Ideally, of course, the Legacy cruise ship had a planned docking at Atlantis.

You already know how these painstakingly evil storylines thrive in children’s films, but it was certainly fun to make it happen. You wouldn’t expect the magical antidote song to thwart the device’s deadly powers. It made me laugh!

However, I felt that having a third episode was already pushing the boundaries of the franchise. Either way, little kids will still appreciate the bright colors and silly slapstick, but the accompanying adults can just smile (or moan) with a slight amusement. 6/10

This review was originally posted on the author’s blog, “Fred said. “


About Brad S. Fulton

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