Hotel Transylvania 3 writers made an interesting choice and get points for creativity for changing things up and send the beloved monsters on an adventure to a most unexpected place, yet it feels like they’re just reaching for a way to prolong the series. Mavis (Selena Gomez) sees Drac’s loneliness and confuses it for stress; therefore, she takes it upon herself to plan a surprise family vacation on a cruise tailor-made for monsters. The whole gang packs up and goes on this adventure, not knowing that it is helmed by Ericka Van Helsing of the Van Helsings.
The thing I love best about this series is that the writers throw just enough of a mix of child-like humor, pop culture and lore references to be interesting for watchers of multiple ages. While the cast did phenomenal with their roles, the dialogue seemed to be falling flat as far as adult enjoyability. Of course the children in attendance will enjoy the return of the crazy characters and adventures, and that is really where the studios is leaning as far as target audience. The writers definitely used the new location as an excuse to amp up the energy with extra silliness and child-like absurdity, but unfortunately this along with the plethora of wacky characters were no mask for the lack of true substance.
However, there were a few chuckle-worthy moments during storyline progression. The one-liner that caused the most audience laughter involved a Dracula fart joke that was both corny and cute. Furthermore, who doesn’t like a good DJ battle to kill an evil master plan with some sick beats? That absolutely seems legit.
Whether you love it or hate it, the Hotel Transylvania movies always have a common morale to teach us all. Everyone is different, yes, but if you are willing to look past the differences you will find we are all the same where it counts. This was highlighted once more with the romantic comedy subplot between Dracula and Ericka Van Helsing, descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, who as you can imagine has some prejudices about monsters which were drilled into her since birth.
In spite of the dip in plot line, there are visual and audio aspects to the animated film that demand attention. The creative locations of various stops on the cruise, such as the lost city of Atlantis or the Bermuda Triangle, created whimsical moments that capture the eye just as you start to lose interest in the story. Seriously, animated stylings involved in portraying the city made me want to visit. Furthermore, the soundtrack truly had something for everyone and I saw several in attendance mouthing the words and “dancing” in their seat. Just to give you an idea, the music list contains songs such as “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys, “La Macarena” by Los Del Rio, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, and “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars.
This installment included many old and new note worthy, talented cast members. Adam Sandler reprised his role as Dracula, himself, and was both funny and charming. This is certainly a far cry from the obnoxious humor in the Billy Madison days. You also have to like the corny choice of Joe Jonas as the singing Kraken. There is also an underwater diving scene involving a inexpressive fish-man named stand (played by the incredibly funny Chris Parnell) who stole every scene he was involved in, and somehow reminded me of old-school cartoon styling.
There may have been some holes in the film, but does not take away from this being a decent way to go for family movie night. The kids will love it, and the adults will find it enjoyable at the very least. Had I known then what I knew now I would probably have saved it for a rental night if I could have got away with it, but that is neither here nor there. Hopefully this gives you a little more idea of what to expect so you can make a more informed decision on movie night.