Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Release date: July 12, 2018

Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky

Starring: 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

Budget: $80 million

Box office: $6 million (opening night)

Thinking Dracula needs to get away from running the hotel, Mavis books a cruise for her family and friends.

Though it’s better than the second entry in the trilogy, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is a subpar film at best. Where the first was enjoyable for adults and children and the second had barely any redemptive qualities, this third outing seems completely aimed at young children. It delivers a rehash of the first film’s moral while flipping roles and once again failing to capture the magic that made it so enjoyable. Further, absolutely none of the advancements presented in the second film had any bearing on the first. Dracula’s grandchild was present, but continued to be nothing more than shallow set dressing with a running gag.

The characters are still bad representations of who they were in the first film, especially the main group of monsters who have turned into a clique of high school girls clamoring for some juicy gossip. They used to have such interesting characterizations, giving personalities to the popular monsters made famous in the early days of film. Yet, their journey to become hollow cardboard cutouts of themselves has been completed. Additionally, Dracula’s father, Vlad, is in this film for no apparent reason other than to be the focus of a few weird attempts at visual humor and he barely ever talks. It would be one thing if the film were live action. However, it’s animated and comes off as a complete waste of Mel Brooks’ talents.

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Taking Dracula’s greatest nemesis, Van Helsing, and giving him a legacy and lineage bent on destroying monsters once and for all seems like a great idea and could have been if it was done well. Nevertheless, like everything in this film, it isn’t. The characters audiences were given as villains are one-dimensional and treated like they’re the villains of a Saturday morning cartoon only with less depth. Also, thanks to the dynamic between the two characters, the end result becomes glaringly obvious halfway into the film.

Barely any of the jokes land either and some just disappear midway through the story only to resurface with a throwaway line near the film’s conclusion. One running gag never even gets a proper lifespan and leaves the audience hanging. The few actually funny jokes are scattered few and far between in this 97 minute film, meaning a chuckle may emerge once or twice, creating an overall boring experience.

Fans of the series may want to wait for this film to leave theaters. It’s definitely not worth the price of admission.