Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
3 stars
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
Duration: 97 mins
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

I may have mentioned on occasion that I am really not a fan of comedian Adam Sandler. Usually, the mere mention of his name makes me cringe, while having to sit through a film of his is more often than not a painful ordeal.

Yet, I have to confess that watching a character simply voiced by him in the animated Hotel Transylvania series has not been a completely offensive experience.

In the three movies of the franchise so far, Sandler has voiced the legendary vampire Count Dracula, known here less formally as Drac. Drac is the owner of the titular hotel, frequented by famous monsters from around the world who like to holiday there and take a break from living among humans.

In the first film the monster gang has to deal with the appearance of a human in the hotel, while in the second Drac deals with becoming a grandfather after (spoiler alert!) his daughter marries said human.

As the title of part three not-so-subtly suggests, Drac and his monster pals go on vacation. The trip is a surprise cruise for Drac organised by his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). For once, she wants him to be the one taking a vacation instead of being the one to organise everybody else’s.

 It’s a fun trip for all – more so when Drac connects with cruise ship captain Erica (Kathryn Hahn) whose intentions are not necessarily as romantic as they are… homicidal.

Provides enough silly gags to entertain its target audience while not completely alienating the adults

In this third instalment, screenwriters Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers wisely move away from the hotel setting to a most unlikely venue, the luxury cruise ship (that sets off from a port constructed out of wrecks of vessels that have met a watery grave in the Bermuda Triangle).

The ship visits myriad colourful locations and offers lots of entertainment options for its passengers – they can play sports on board, scuba dive or soak up the sun.

Drac, wisely avoiding the sun, finds he needs to spruce up his courting skills, while Mavis is on hand to ensure he’s having fun while dealing with her young family.

In the meantime, Erica plots away at the behest of her very elderly grandfather (who has a history with Drac, very skilfully and amusingly illustrated in the film’s opening). Yet, there is no doubt that all will be alright in the end as they all learn to live happily ever after.

The story is hardly complex. The characters are appropriately amiable and fun-loving –  despite its ensemble of frightening beings, it is as scary as a fluffy chick.

 The ensemble, featuring the likes of Frank (enstein) and his bride, the Wolf-people, the Invisible Man, the blob of slime et al, is voiced by a host of America’s comedy stalwarts. These include Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan, Joe Jonas, Chrissy Teigen, Jaime Camil and the legendary Mel Brooks. They all add colour to the characters, even though for the most part they just parade in and out in a few scenes. The focus is Drac’s burgeoning relationship, but the script does provide enough silly gags to entertain its target audience while not completely alienating the adults.

As far as the animation goes, it is unquestionably vivid and colourful. Yet, it hardly treads new ground and is not as sophisticated as animation can be.