Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average85.71%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 1 rating

Latest Reviews

Psychomagic, a Healing Art by Rob Gonsalves

Secret Garden, The (2020) by Peter Sobczynski

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker by Jay Seaver

Force of Nature by Rob Gonsalves

Greyhound by Rob Gonsalves

Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part II by Rob Gonsalves

Painted Bird, The by Rob Gonsalves

Relativity by Jay Seaver

Amulet by Jay Seaver

Secret, The: Dare to Dream by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Hotel Transylvania 3
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by alejandroariera

"NO!!!! Not the Macarena! Anything but the Macarena, Please!!!!"
3 stars

Poor “Hotel Transylvania.” The first two films were slammed for their desire to please kids under 10 (as if that were a crime) while driving impatient parents up the freaking wall. They were criticized for not being intellectually stimulating or technically innovative as Pixar’s output or Dreamwork Animation’s early films. I personally find them charming, goofy and heartfelt. They don’t pretend to be anything more than a gag-filled, vaudeville-influenced piece of entertainment with a kiddy-safe message that goes down easy. It’s the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. Granted, I caught up with the first two films when they aired on television, which could lead to the very legitimate critique that they work much better on the home screen than on the big screen. After all, their director, Genndy Tartakovsky, began his career on television with such quirky series as “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “The Powerpuff Girls” and the far more adult “Samurai Jack” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” His “Hotel Transylvania” films have that Saturday morning cartoon vibe…all that’s missing is a bowl of cereal. Which is why I couldn’t help but feel that scheduling a press and word-of-mouth screening of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” on a Saturday morning was more than appropriate, even though no cereal was served.

The last time Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his friends —Frank (Kevin James), werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi), invisible man Griffin (David Spade) and mummy Murray (Keegan-Michael Key)— went on a vacation, they were pursued aboard a train headed back home by Drac’s arch-enemy Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan). This set-up leads to a series of Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote-like encounters throughout the ages between the Count and Van Helsing during the first minutes of the film. The pace is so manic, that you expect what’s coming to be a wild rollercoaster ride. Not quite. Cut to the present: Drac is about to preside over a wedding between two spiky regular hotel guests when he realizes that everyone at the ceremony and party are nicely coupled but him. Drac has this old-fashioned, and rather retrograde, belief that you can only fall in love with the right person once and since that person, his wife, passed away a long time ago, there’s no way in hell that he will once again feel that “zing” (monster-speak for Cupid’s arrow) he felt for his wife. His daughter Mavis (Selena Gómez) believes his mood changes are due to being overworked and, after watching a TV commercial, arranges a vacation on a cruise for dad and friends.

The irony of planning a vacation on what is basically a floating hotel is not lost on Papa Drac. But, hey, who is he to complain, especially when his eyes meet those of Ericka, the ship’s captain (Kathryn Hahn), and he begins to mumble incoherently (the facial design on Dracula as his mouth begins to twist and turn in this scene is one of the film’s many visual delights). How is it possible? A zing? But, poor Dracula, is he in for a most unpleasant surprise: Ericka is none other than Van Helsing’s great-granddaughter and the trip nothing more than an excuse to find some MacGuffin that will help them rid the world of monsters, Dracula included (Van Helsing is still alive, his head and arms sticking out of a mechanized contraption that reminded me of the one used by Max Capricorn, the corporate villain of the Doctor Who Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned.”). This leads to a final sequence involving a DJ battle, the release of the Kraken and the regrettable resurrection of “La Macarena.” I would have enjoyed “Hotel Transylvania 3” even more (and even added an extra star to this review) if Tartakovsky had added a scene of someone driving a stake into the heart of this song and its creators.

Over this rather feeble plot, Tartakovsky hangs a series of gags, some which fall flat which would lead one to believe that the franchise is beginning to run out of gas. But more often than not they do hit their mark and you can’t help but admire and even smile at Tartakovsky’s hyperactive imagination. The whole sequence inside a Gremlin Air plane, as our cast of characters is being flown to the Bermuda Triangle from where their cruise will depart, is one of the film’s magnificent set pieces (some critics evoke The Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” when writing about it; I think it’s really a tribute to Joe Dante’s rambunctious and anarchic Gremlins). It may last a couple of minutes, but director and animation team pack the frame with so much detail and energy that the rest of “Hotel Transylvania 3” never quite makes up for it. There’s also a terrific dance number inside an underwater cave involving Drac, Ericka, multiple traps and the aforementioned MacGuffin that is classy, elegant and clever…it’s pretty much the opening scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” turned into a Fred Astaire-like musical number. Other gags are brief, eliciting the occasional chuckle (when Wayne and his wife discover the joys of free onboard child care, for example).

The character and location design is an improvement over previous installments as well, the clear stand-out being the cruise’s walking fish crew and the Bermuda Triangle (an actual triangle with ships piled one on top of another at its center). You also wish, though, that Tartakovsky had done more with the idea of Atlantis turned into a Las Vegas-like gambling paradise and that he had written more gags for Vlad, Dracula’s father; after all, why have Mel Brooks in your cast if you are not going to take full advantage of his schtick? (Yes, I know he had a larger role in the second film but, still, it’s Mel Effing Brooks!)

Sandler may have been the driving force behind the first two films but this is Tartakovsky’s baby through and through (he also co-wrote the script). His fertile imagination roams free while delivering what the franchise promises: 90+ minutes of cozy, comfortable, fun family entertainment, farts and all. Too cozy, too comfortable for Tartakovsky’s talent, in my opinion. As much as I was enjoying “Hotel Transylvania 3,” my more critical side was looking forward to the day that Tartakovsky breaks free from the franchise’s shackles and is allowed to go wild on a big screen project of his own. Anyway, next time one of these three films airs on TV, I’ll make sure to wear my jammies and have a bowl of cereal ready.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=29871&reviewer=434
originally posted: 07/13/18 14:39:42
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

8/11/18 Louise Fabulous fun for kids and adults alike. Lifts your mood! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  13-Jul-2018 (PG)
  DVD: 09-Oct-2018


  DVD: 09-Oct-2018

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast