Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation


Don’t you want to take me on a sea cruise?

(2018) Animated Feature (Columbia) Starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Keegan-Michael Key, Jim Gaffigan, Kathryn Hahn, Joe Jonas, Chrissy Teigen, Tara Strong, Chris Parnell, Asher Blinkoff, Genndy Tartakovsky, Aaron LaPlante, Michelle Murdocca. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

 

The Cartoon Network has done the world a disservice. Yes, some of the things that they have put out are actually pretty good, but the majority of their output is poorly animated and dumbed down, treating kids like easily distracted morons rather than actual people. Sadly, that tendency has begun to filter into major studio animated features as well as studios are looking for franchises that they can market and merchandise out the yin-yang.

Dracula (Sandler), proprietor of the monsters’ resort Hotel Transylvania is lonely and tired. His beloved daughter Mavis (Gomez) notices and decides to book a family vacation on a monster cruise ship. There Drac finds love with Ericka (Hahn), captain of the vessel but she is hiding a secret that might just destroy Dracula once and for all. Never mind that; at least the gang is all there with him for the fun.

The animation here is much improved over the first two films in the franchise; it is certainly the best of the series so far. Sadly, the script doesn’t keep pace; it is just as predictable and lowbrow as other kid flicks that have dominated the big screen of late. The sad fact is that Pixar and Illumination have shown that animated features can appeal to both adults and kids. Most adults will probably be better off finding something else to distract them while the kids are watching this.

There is an air of finality about this one; I think that it was initially intended to be the last in the series but Sony has scheduled a fourth installment for December 2021. I hope that the animation is as good or better as this one but that they put a little more effort into writing a script that has a bit more heart and a bit less fart jokes.

REASONS TO SEE: The animation is better-than-average.
REASONS TO AVOID: Kids will love this; parents, not so much.
FAMILY VALUES: There is some fairly rude humor.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Some of the names of the ships in the Bermuda Triangle sequence are the names of ships that reportedly disappeared there in reality.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: Amazon, AppleTV, Fandango Now, Google Play, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube
CRITICAL MASS: As of 12/31/19: Rotten Tomatoes: 62% positive reviews: Metacritic: 54/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Mad Monster Party
FINAL RATING: 6/10
NEXT:
Slender Man

Pick of the Litter – January 2020


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Dolittle

(Universal) Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent. From the beloved series of children’s books comes this new re-imagining. Most remember the bloated musical version starring Rex Harrison if they remember it at all, but this one stars Iron Man himself as the vet who can talk to the animals, and generally prefers animals to people. January 17

OTHER WIDE RELEASES TO WATCH FOR

Grudge, January 3
1917, January 10
The Informer, January 10
Just Mercy, January 10
Underwater, January 10
Bad Boys 4 Life, January 17
The Gentlemen, January 24
The Turning, January 24
Gretel and Hansel, January 31
The Rhythm Section, January 31

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Three Christs

(IFC) Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Bradley Whitford, Walton Goggins. The story of the groundbreaking psychological study by Dr. Alan Stone of three paranoid schizophrenics at the Ypsilanti State Hospital in 1959. All three of them believed they were Jesus Christ. January 3

Les misérables

(Amazon) Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga, Issa Penca. A cop from the provinces moves to Paris and becomes entwined in a disturbing world of crime and brutality. The film was recently nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film award at the upcoming Golden Globes. January 10

Troop Zero

(Amazon) Mckenna Grace, Viola Davis, Alison Janney, Jim Gaffigan. A little girl in rural Georgia in 1977 dreams of outer space. When a chance to be part of NASA’s golden record to be sent out on Voyager for Birdie Scouts at the upcoming jamboree materializes, she founds a troop of fellow misfits hoping to achieve her dream but ends up finding something more lasting. January 17

Color Out of Space

(RLJE) Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Madeleine Arthur. A meteorite lands near a small town and brings with it devastating horror. From the mind of author H.P Lovecraft and the legendary B-movie director Richard Stanley. January 24

Beanpole

(Kino-Lorber) Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina, Andrey Bykov, Igor Shirokov  Two young women, living in the tattered majesty of post-World War II Leningrad, desperately search for hope and meaning among the ruins. This is Russia’s official submission to this year’s Foreign Language Oscar category. January 29

Incitement

(Greenwich) Yehuda Nahari, Amitai Yaish, Anat Ravnitski, Yoav Levi The story of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, as told through the eyes of the assassin. This was the most recent winner of the Israeli Academy Awards Best Picture and is also Israel’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. January 31