Pre-Release Review: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

  • Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Written by Genndy Tartakovsky & Michael McCullers


  •     Adam Sandler
  •     Andy Samberg
  •     Selena Gomez
  •     Kevin James
  •     David Spade
  •     Steve Buscemi
  •     Keegan-Michael Key
  •     Molly Shannon
  •     Fran Drescher
  •     Kathryn Hahn
  •     Jim Gaffigan
  •     Mel Brooks

I think that children’s movies tend to get a real bad rap from most critics.  I don’t consider Rotten Tomatoes to be the be all and end all of movie reviews, but the first HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA movie only got 44% positive reviews, and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 got 55%.   Personally, I loved the first two movies, as did my three kids…you know, the actual target audience of the movies.

With a lot of big movies coming out this summer for kids including INCREDIBLES 2, ANT-MAN AND WASP, TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES, and SOLO, the movie my kids were looking forward to most was HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION.  I was fortunate enough to get to take them to an early screening thanks to Amazon Prime a few weeks ago.

In HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, Dracula (played by Adam Sandler) runs a hotel for monsters where they can retreat from the human world.  Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) has fallen in love with a human…but Johnny (Andy Samberg) turns out to be a decent guy, so Dracula and the other monsters seem a little more willing to open themselves up to humans. Mavis and Johnny end up getting married and having a son named Dennis. 

In the third movie, Mavis decides to take Dracula and the other monsters on a cruise.  Dracula quickly “zings” with the Captain (the monster equivalent of love at first sight).  But of course, it turns out the cruise is a trap by Dracula’s old enemy Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) and his granddaughter, Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). 

Genndy Tartakovsky is just a genius at making movies and TV shows that can appeal to both kids and adults at the same time.  He created DEXTER’S LABORATORY and SAMURAI JACK and was instrumental in the first few seasons of the original POWERPUFF GIRLS.  And a lot of people say that his version of STAR WARS: CLONE WARS was even better than the CGI version that came a few years later.  HOTEL TRANSLYVANIA fits strongly in his body of work. 

Like all of Tartakovsky’s work, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3  finds a great balance between humor and heart.  These types of movies are where Adam Sandler excels to me.  Dracula’s feelings of loneliness and wanting to protect his daughter from the idea of him dating again creates some real poignant moments that you don’t often expect from light-hearted kids’ fare.  Mavis’s own complicated reactions to seeing her father falling in love were also really well done.

As a parent of three exhausting children myself, I thought the subplot about Wayne and Wanda (werewolves played by Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon) being so excited by being able to drop off their horde of children to the ship’s babysitters was just hilarious.   And the scenes with Dennis trying to hide his massive dog from everyone were just great, especially when everyone realizes what is going on and his tries to play it off like he is shocked too.  And the final “battle” between the monsters and Van Helsing is just ridiculously over the top and perfect.

My only real complaint is that the evil plot here seems a bit too complicated.  Get all the monsters to come on a cruise.  Have the cruise hit up several sites, before getting to the ruins of Atlantis, and then find an evil song that will turn a massive squid evil and have the squid kill all the monsters.  Just seems like you could have cut out many, many steps from this plan and have a better chance of success.  I know it’s petty, but I always try to point out something about a movie I didn’t like to be more far and balanced in my reviews.

I also would have loved if they used Mel Brooks as Dracula’s dad a little more, but I am a lifelong Mel Brooks fan, so that is purely personal preference.

To sum it all up, if you liked the first two movies, you will enjoy HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3.  It really is just more of the same from the first two movies, but that is a very good thing.  It’s funny, it has a lot of heart, and the cast is just brilliant.  Everything is pretty straight forward and works out how you would expect it to, but I am not cynical enough to allow that to ruin a great experience with my kids.

5.0 / 5.0