Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" is more of the same, but still funny

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Review

Sequels are just tough in general.

You fall into circular plots with the characters. You fall prey to treading water as far as theme and character go. The characters make the same jokes. The characters shamelessly callback to previous movies. Especially when it gets to sequel three and four, it gets harder and harder to keep ideas and characters fresh. For some reason, it seems harder when children's film franchises hit the three and above club. There are just so many times you can make the same joke, or teach children the exact same lesson that several other films have already made and make it still feel relevant. I give them credit for trying, always, but children's franchises seem to run out of steam much faster than the average franchise.

I really enjoy "Hotel Transylvania." I like that it gave Adam Sandler and most of his buddies an outlet to be silly and come up with goofy voices, something they all seem to excel at. But especially Sandler does well with that. I have said for awhile that I think Sandler was meant to be a voice actor, but he missed his calling. I am still happy we got all the classics that he's been apart of but you know...you know. I think the series has been a clever way to update the classic monster archetypes, which is why its been fun for adults to watch. And children? Well, they just love watching these archetypes doing and saying funny things. These are more than just cute movies, they are able to entertain, which is always a plus.

But even when making a threequel, making these characters fresh gets tough. Throughout this entire threequel, we see characters using the same powers in the same ways. We get a refresh on familiar jokes, and familiar themes seem to echo through the story again. This time, the movie introduces Abraham Van Helsing, and not only is the monsters classic foe on board, but he's voiced by non other than Jim Gaffigan. We learn that Helsing has been at war with these monsters for years and years and years. Van Helsing has never been able to kill a single monster and he's always lost. Into the present day, Dracula is still close to his lifelong friends and his daughter is still happy with her family. He needs something new, and his daughter suggests an all monster cruise, a vacation from the everyday life. Because even monsters need to get away.

Dracula gets his family and friends together and they go on the cruise. When they get there, Dracula, who has been single for awhile, meets Erika (Katheryn Hahn) and he begins to fall for her. Although Dracula's daughter begins to think there may be something up with Erika, the ship conductor. If you are reading this review thoroughly, you can probably guess already where this movie is headed. If not, you'll surely figure it out within the first twenty minutes. The movie is not even trying to be clever. I am not sure if they think children won't be able to see it coming, but they didn't try to be clever with the big reveal. Since they have a touching message to push forward, they really didn't need to be clever. They totally phoned in the big reveal, but children's movies aren't known for big reveals so I guess I can't blame them too much.

The animation is, as to be expected, absolutely exceptional. The voice actors try to make it all matter and they are landing their jokes, there is just lots familiarity to much of it. It's a movie that I think you'd call cute. That's why I can hardly get offended by the stuff that doesn't work in this movie. That's why I still enjoy what I am watching even though it all feels familiar. This is a charming movie, and the actors are going overtime to be charming. This is another fun entry in this series, I just hope for next time, they get a different theme added to the new adventure.

FINAL GRADE: C+

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