HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: A MONSTER HOLIDAY

Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Stars: voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Fran Drescher, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Mel Brooks, Molly Shannon, Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Parnell, Joe Jonas, Asher Blinkoff.

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The animated Hotel Transylvania series has given Adam Sandler some of the biggest box office hits of his career, so it’s little wonder that he has returned for a third helping of this monster comedy franchise.

Sandler voices the character of Dracula, a widower and a loving father, who runs a hotel that welcomes monsters, and the occasionally wayward human. Being busy raising his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and running a hotel has left him little time for a social life, and Dracula is feeling lonely. Ever since his wife died, Dracula has not felt the “zing” – love at first sight for monsters.

Mavis decides to try and cheer her father up by organising a surprise holiday for him so that he can relax for a change. The surprise turns out to be a cruise on the good ship The Legacy through the Bermuda Triangle and other mythical places. Dracula is accompanied by Mavis and her DJing husband, the gormless Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) and his regular group of friends including Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his wife Eunice (Fran Drescher, from The Nanny, etc), the extended wolf family (Steve Buscemi heads this pack), the invisible man (David Spade) and Drac’s father Vlad (Mel Brooks). Sandler has certainly assembled a strong ensemble vocal cast that features many regulars in his films.

While on the cruise Drac falls heavily for the ship’s pretty captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). He feels the “zing” for the first time. But it turns out that Ericka is actually the granddaughter of Drac’s arch nemesis Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan). Van Helsing plans to lure Dracula and his friends into a trap and then unleash the kraken – the ancient monster that destroyed the legendary city of Atlantis – to destroy the monsters once and for all. The kraken moves to the sinister music that Van Helsing plays, which triggers a dance-off as Johnny counters with some upbeat and happy pop tunes.

There is some colourful animation here and the creation of the myriad characters is delightful. The film is littered with visual jokes and slapstick humour that will particularly appeal to younger audiences, while older audiences will also find much to enjoy here. The name of the ship has a nice double meaning that becomes clearer as the film unfolds.

In moving the series away from the titular hotel writer/director Genndy Tartakovsky and his co-writer Michael McCullers push the series in a different and welcome direction, making use of some exotic locations. Tartakovsky has helmed the previous two films in the series which lends a continuity to the material. Apparently he was inspired by the National Lampoon series of Vacation comedies that starred Chevy Chase as well as his own horrible experiences during a recent holiday.

Hotel Transylvania 3 has been the most successful in the series yet, so it’s not surprising that the ending leaves the door open for yet another sequel.

★★★

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