We all forgot there was a new Hotel Transylvania that came out, didn’t we? Another fun adventure with Dracula and the hang could make for a good time for families if they waited patiently after getting pushed back and streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime instead in theaters. Sony Pictures Animation’s most prominent franchise hasn’t been the greatest thing ever, but since it began in 2012, I don’t seem to mind the first two that much despite not having the desire to watch them again. I wasn’t, however, a fan of the third installment, Summer Vacation, because they made it set outside the titular hotel. So it appears the latest, Transformania, is the last of these movies, which might be the best idea in the long run.
What’s the Story: As his beloved Hotel Transylvania celebrates its 125th anniversary, Drac (voiced by Brian Hull) decides it’s the right time to retire and hand over the business to his daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) and son-in-law Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg). However, the realization of Johnny turning the monster sanctuary into a potential mess has Drac lying to him, telling him only monsters can own real estate. This finds Johnny turning to Van Helsing to use a special ray that can turn him into a monster, leading him to turn into a dragon-like monster. Trying to get him back to normal, Drac accidentally turns into a human, along with the rest of the monster gang- Frank (voiced by Brad Abrell), Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi), Griffin (voiced by David Spade), Murray (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key). Now, Drac and Johnny must travel to South America to locate a new crystal and change back before it becomes permanent.
To no one’s surprise, I’d say this is my least favorite in the series. Sure, it’s one family movie that will be highly entertaining for little kids, but it won’t change the minds of those who never cared the past three times. Out of the stories to make each movie move forward, this is by far the most unoriginal of them all because it’s too tiring watching bodies being switches around of change appearances with a predictable outcome. Because we got to see the monsters turn to humans, it’s certainly different. Drac can’t fly, Frank thinking he’s downright handsome, or Griffin being seen in person or the first time and been naked the entire time. We are following Drac and Johnny on this journey they’re forced to go on, and you can see where this is heading since it offers a valuable lesson everyone will get: you don’t need to change who you are to impress somebody.
Even if Genny Taratokosky returned to direct instead of being a co-writer, Jennifer Klusko and Derek Drymon take over for this entry, it would’ve been just decent to get through. But, instead, it doesn’t offer any kind of amazement from the animation downgrade that came off as zany as before. The voice cast does have a downside, and it doesn’t have Adam Sandler providing the voice of Drac, replaced by YouTube star Brian Hull. He does a good enough job to fool anyone who didn’t know came in. As for the rest, Andy Samberg still gives it his all as Johnny,but the enthusiasm from the returning cast, with the addition of Brad Abrell voicing Frank instead of Kevin James, was lacking. Why Sandler and James passed up this sequel is beyond my questioning. There was only one laugh out of me involving mosquitoes, while the rest of the humor got nothing that didn’t need a random moment dedicated to the “Cha Cha Slide.”
The whole transformation angle of the plot is all but wasted when it doesn’t appear that creatively important with the characters. This culminates in a finale that doesn’t feel like one when it could’ve been mildly epic or the best out of the bunch. Nobody will seem to notice from pushbacks, especially when not competing against The Addams Family 2 unless they are dedicated fans.
I didn’t realize this was a shorter review, but Hotel Transylvania: Transformania wasn’t the most memorable way to conclude the fun animated franchise. Those who enjoyed the previous movies will have fun, especially young kids. But there’s not much to take away from a very predictable and barely funny sequel missing Tartakovsky’s touch.
Grade: (3/10) C-
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video