Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation voice cast: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Andy Samberg, Jim Gaffigan
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation movie director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation movie rating: 1 star
The law of diminishing returns had already set in by the time Hotel Transylvania swung around the second time in 2015. Three years later, the story of Dracula and his daughter running a hotel for monsters in Transylvania seems to have finally run out of all jokes. And, frankly, ideas, with the film returning to its first idea, of a monster and human falling in love, this time in the form of Dracula (Sandler) and Ericka. Hahn, a vivacious actor, has none of her vitality in the role of Ericka, while the affair between her and Dracula is devoid of that forbidden angle that made the first Hotel Transylvania click.
The two partners of the older love story, Mavis (Gomez) and Johnny, also seem to share less and less chemistry — a consequence inevitable in all affairs that end in marriage, and hence best avoided on screen. Anyway, they also have less and less to do in this film dominated by Sandler for the most part, including when Ericka enters the picture. They encounter each other when Dracula’s daughter Mavis plans a family vacation on a cruise, but then takes the entire monster brood along. Ericka is the captain of the ship, but also the grand-daughter of Van Helsing (Gaffigan), who has been chasing Dracula for ages and is now reduced in his old age to a contraption, with its only human parts the face and neck. Ericka sets out hating Dracula, but then they ‘zing’ (a concept of love taken straight out of the Twilight films).
The cruise, meant to end at the Atlantis, sets off from the Bermuda Triangle and halts in the middle at an undersea volcano and a deserted island. If you are imagining lots of adventure, hold your thought. Most of the action happens on the ship, where Dracula walks around in beach shirts and mini-mini-shorts, and his dad in briefs and a distended belly. When the film enters the water, it is a mish-mash of blinding colours. There is some chatter of inclusivity etc, of treating different people the same, but you are clearly meant to keep your eyes focused on Dracula at all times.
All said and done, as Dracula himself puts it, a cruise is nothing but a hotel on water. And it’s about time this film checked out of one.