Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky – Starring the voices of: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Mel Brooks
I must admit to having a soft spot for the Hotel Transylvania films. They have a lovely message of inclusivity, equality, and harmony, that I feel resonates with young and old.
Having set two movies in the hotel of the title, this instalment sees Dracula, his daughter Mavis, and all their cohorts, embark on a much-needed vacation to the Bermuda Triangle. However, unbeknownst to them, they have been set up by Drac’s old arch-nemesis, Van Helsing, who is planning a grisly end for everyone’s favourite vampire.
This doesn’t rewrite the rulebook – they know what has worked for the previous two films, and they give us more of the same. But that’s fine, because it’s all good stuff. There are musical numbers aplenty, lots of visual gags, lots of multi-layered jokes that adults and LOs will get on different levels, and some fabulous visuals. The animation, when their cruise ship is pulling out of port, is quite simply stunning.
The story is a pretty straightforward one that shouldn’t confuse anybody, and some clever scripting means it really hits the mark. Obviously, this is aided by an absolutely wonderful voice-cast, featuring some true comedy stalwarts.
There are one or two throwbacks to previous films that won’t necessarily land if you haven’t seen those, but overall this works as a standalone piece. The two children that watched it with me had never seen a HT film before, and they were enthralled with the fast pace and colourful characters (and now can’t wait to see the first two). Since they were quite young, I was worried that they might find some of the monsters scary, but they loved them.
If I had one complaint, it is that on the third instalment, they could take a few more chances. The audience knows the formula, so it would be nice to throw in one or two surprises. Even without that though this is lightweight family fun, with a very worthy underlying message of equality that is reiterated throughout. Although it’s a kids’ film, adults should also find this extremely enjoyable.
Yes, it’s more of the same, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
In Cinemas July 27th! See trailer below: