“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, and Mel Brooks. Released on July 13, 2018, the film has Dracula and the gang going on vacation on a monster-filled cruse ship.
The film is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who created shows like “Dexter’s Laboratory" and “Samurai Jack”, and it is the third installment in the Hotel Transylvania film series. Sony Pictures Animation has been modestly successful with their full-length, kid-friendly cartoons in terms of box office numbers, but none of them were as successful as “Hotel Transylvania”. Yeah, that’s right. An animated film about monsters staying at an hotel has the most amount of appeal towards kids and adults compared to the likes of “Open Season” and last year’s critically-maligned “The Emoji Movie”. The 2012 animated comedy and its sequel were best described as saving graces for Adam Sandler since his recent live-action roles failed to impress many of his fans, mostly because he’s voicing a cartoon vampire instead of appearing in front of the camera. I enjoyed the first two “Hotel Transylvania” films because of the characters, the entertaining plots, and Tartakovsky’s animation style, so it wouldn’t be right for me to miss this latest outing from Adam Sandler and his friends. This animated three-quel takes the franchise in a new direction by putting our beloved monstrous characters on a cruise ship instead of a hotel. Will that strategy be able to prevent the film from getting sequel-itis? Let’s jump on board and find out.
Taking place a few months after the previous film, the story revolves around Dracula and his family and friends going on a cruise in order to spend more time with one another. There, they meet the ship’s captain, Ericka, who is secretly the great-granddaughter of Dracula’s archenemy, Abraham Van Helsing, who devises a plan to rid all of the monsters for good. To make things even more enticing, Dracula becomes attracted to the mysterious captain. Like its predecessors, the story in “Summer Vacation” is very simple and kid-friendly (except for a couple of scary parts, of course), which can lead to some predictable and goofy moments here and there. This type of flaw was admittedly easy to spot in almost every kids movie, and this one is no exception. While its change of location managed to bring some life into the franchise, I couldn’t help but noticed that the plot offered some familiar elements that were introduced in the first film, which can make its predictable structure really hard for some people to avoid. Aside from that, this is another animated sequel that still retains the zany and entertaining qualities that the series is known for. The main cast once again reprised their roles as their respective characters, such as Sandler as Dracula and Selena Gomez as Mavis. While some of their roles were just played out for laughs, especially Mel Brooks as Dracula’s dad, Vlad, the central characters made a good impression on themselves by providing plenty of laughs and heart for the kids and the parents. Say what you want about Sandler, but I still think he’s a near-perfect fit as Dracula. The film also included some new additions to the cast, such as Kathryn Hahn from “Bad Moms” as Ericka and Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing. Both of these characters serve as the antagonists in the film, and to be fair, I actually thought they were handled better than the villain in “Hotel Transylvania 2”. In that film, the antagonist felt like it was thrown in there at the last minute just to spice up the plot. Here, the villains in “Summer Vacation” were actually there from beginning to end to serve the story’s purpose. They weren’t memorable villains, but they had enough depth to make me reconsider, mostly Ericka. Similar to the last two “Hotel Transylvania” films, the animation proved that Tartakovsky has a unique mind at crafting cartoonish slapstick and vibrant locations. It has the style of a Looney Tunes cartoon, but in CGI form. It might not impress everyone who wanted an animation style from the likes of Disney or Pixar, but as a film made by Sony Pictures Animation, it’s a dazzling and irresistible cartoon. The jokes and visual gags were quite debatable depending on your sense of humor. They can either be hilarious or painfully annoying. From my personal viewpoint, the humor successfully hit my funny bone from start to finish. There were a couple of moments that made me laugh out loud the most, including that one specific scene in the third act (No spoilers). No joke, I was laughing my butt off when that part happened. it was both amusing and idiotic.
Overall, “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” is a monster-filled vacation for the ages. Thanks to its fun characters, its colorful and cartoonish animation, and a cute, yet predictable, story, this animated adventure will definitely make kids go “blah, blah, blah" for all the right reasons, even though it won’t win any newcomers over. I would rank this one above “Hotel Transylvania 2”, but a bit below the first film. If you enjoyed the last two films, I believe you will like this one as well.