This final installment of the Hotel Transylvania franchise is not all that exciting. It might be a nod to all the retired or soon to retire Baby Boomers which might not be that well received. Drac is reluctantly getting ready to trade in is master key for the Hotel and get on with the next chapter of life with wife, Erika. But he finds actually going through passing the torch daunting, especially if his replacement might be Drac’s rambunctious human son-in-law, Johnny (Andy Samberg).
The young kids who are the target demo for this movie won’t notice or care that Adam Sandler is not back as Drac. He’s been replaced by Brian Hull who fills the bill well enough. The humor in these films is the slapstick along with the outrageous characters provided with bright, colorful animation.
Directors Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska both have experience with animation, and they clearly are not out to rock the boat here. This movie feels and plays very much like the past installments. There aren’t many lines that get laughs in this script by franchise creator Genndy Tartatovsky with Amos Vernon and Nuinzio Randazzo. And using the Cupid Shuffle for the big dance number, as much as we like it, is outdated.There are a few jokes, but the device used here for laughs comes in the form of the body swaps.
Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) is the keeper of the “Monsterfication Ray.” This can turn a human into a monster or vice versa. Predictably Johnny wants to become a “real” member of Mavis’ (Selena Gomez) family. Things, of course, go haywire and while Johnny is monster-fied, Drac and his pack are transformed coning back clothed or not as weird looking humans.
Now Drac has lost his supernatural powers, relying on help from Mavis and wife Erika (Kathryn Hahn) and the crew to find the special stone they need to power the Ray so they can turn everyone back to their original, colorful monster selves. Of course, the whole gang has to get involved in this adventure.
The fun of the Hotel Transylvania movies has been taking supposedly scary monsters like the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) or Frankenstein (Brad Abrell, in place of Kevin James) and making them funny and maybe even warm and emotional. That’s best seen in Drac himself, as we see him learning to let go, learning to trust others enough to give them control. And that means trying to appreciate and accept weird Johnny as part of the family, even though he’s not cut from the same monster-cloth.
The colorful animation and up-beat score certainly keep the pace going at a nice clip, and the messages are good, but the heart-tugging conclusion never materializes. This feels like every other kind of sappy Transylvania ending and after 10 years and four movies, it seems time to turn in the key and accept check-out time for Hotel Transylvania.
Amazon Studios 98 minutes PG
Amazon Prime Video
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