Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
Dracula’s merry band of monsters reunite and take to the sea in this lighthearted animation.
The third instalment of Sony Pictures’ Hotel Transylvania arrives two months earlier than its scheduled release and, armed with all the summer vibes and holiday feels, you can certainly see why.
The animated romantic comedy, helmed once again by director Genndy Tartakovsky, reprises the roles of all our favourite characters as Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his merry band of monsters embark on a family vacation.
The first movie to be set away from Drac’s thriving monster hotel in Transylvania, A Monster Vacation confronts the long-running feud between the vampire and his arch nemesis Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), who is introduced to us in 19th century Budapest as the monsters, including Frankenstein (Kevin James), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), werewolves Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Wanda (Molly Shannon) and Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), try to conceal their identity on a train filled with humans.
Setting the theme of the film, Van Helsing bursts into the carriage, hell-bent on uncovering and destroying the monsters, but is outsmarted by Drac at every turn.
In the present day, Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is adamant her father “needs a vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation” and books a surprise trip on a cruise to the lost city of Atlantis, as the plot dovetails with the contemporary folklore and legends of the Bermuda Triangle.
Despite early protestations, the blood-drinking protagonist quickly settles into the fantastical world of a monster cruise, which is brilliantly portrayed in early scenes of ‘monsterball’ (volleyball), sunbathing witches and dolphin surfing.
But Drac surprises himself when he “zings” - a monster’s interpretation of love at first sight – with the ship’s human captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), who is subsequently revealed to be the wicked great-granddaughter of Van Helsing, who, now old and frail, lives in the ship’s bunker plotting Drac’s demise.
Unfortunately, from the moment Ericka is introduced to the audience in a grand scene of fireworks, burlesque dancers and bright lights, it’s painfully easy to predict the film’s trajectory.
Naturally, she tries - and fails - to kill Drac on multiple occasions in comical scenes which include lacing his guacamole with garlic in a bid to destroy him, only to discover it merely gives him a bad case of flatulence.
Inevitably, Drac’s goofy jokes, kind heart and soft-on-the-inside character – all of which are once again captured perfectly through Sandler - cause Ericka’s feelings to soften and a happy ending between the pair ensues.
Predictable plot aside, the movie saves itself with a number of engaging and humorous sub-stories that run alongside the main plot.
Throughout the film, for instance, Mavis and Johnny’s (Andy Samberg) human/vampire hybrid son Dennis grapples with concealing the identity of his over-sized puppy, Tinkles, after realising the cruise operates a strict ‘no pets allowed’ policy.
His innocent attempts to keep him under wraps, which include dressing him up in a large trench coat and naming him Bob, make for funny, albeit silly, scenes.
Werewolves Wayne and Wanda also provide a storyline accompanying parents might relate to as they rejoice at their discovery of the cruise’s in-house childcare facility, where they promptly dump their hundreds of fur babies and revel in the joy of simply doing nothing.
Other monster characters we have come to know and love get a seasonal overhaul with amusing embellishments added to their arsenal.
Did you know that when Blobby, the green blob monster, gets seasick his vomit turns into a green blob baby? Or that monster’s require moonscreen in order to avoid moonburn?
Other high points of the film include a stellar soundtrack, which culminates in a joyous final scene of rousing tunes like Bobby McFerrin’s 'Don’t Worry Be Happy', 'Good Vibrations' by The Beach Boys and Los Del Rio’s 'Macarena'.
All-in-all, the film is exactly what you’d expect for its remit – one hour and 37 minutes of slapstick comedy, predictable storylines and light-hearted relief from the outside world, which, from the eyes of a child, is probably everything you want and more.
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