Here are a few good things about the fourth Hotel Transylvania movie: Kathryn Hahn, who is as evocative as a voice actress as she is in live-action; the monster sidekicks voiced by David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, and Brad Abrell; a joke about a single marshmallow (really); the revelation that the invisible man has been naked all this time; the runtime of 94 minutes; and the film’s easy accessibility on Amazon Prime Video.
But perhaps the best thing about “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is that it’s the ending. The well of ideas about this particular property apparently dried up, and the wise decision was made to pack up and leave. Although not wise enough to end on a particularly high note.
What started out as a pretty clever riff about a father-daughter relationship, monsters, and the hospitality industry has been on cruise control since its debut and has run out of fuel ever since. It’s hard to get rid of the feeling that everyone was just phoning in for that one last try. In fact, it’s not even “everyone”, as Adam Sandler, who was the marquee for the previous three as Count “Drac” Dracula, managed to retire early. Also Kevin James.
People also read…
This time, under the direction of Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska, Drac is voiced by Brian Hull, who does a great job of getting close to Sandler’s vampire shtick. And while the character has had three movies to get used to the idea of his daughter’s relationship, he hasn’t evolved much since the first movie, when he sits in horror as Mavis (Selena Gomez) meets and falls in love with a human being. man, Johnny (Andy Samberg). In the world of Hotel Transylvania, they got married and had a child, but Johnny still feels like an outsider, and Drac still hates accepting him as part of the family.
So in this episode, which was produced and co-written by franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky, Drac decides in a backstage panic not to make a big public announcement about handing over the hotel to Mavis and Johnny.
Johnny, thinking it’s his fault for not being a monster, asks Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) to help him change. That works. He becomes a toothy, clumsy, scaly abomination, and everything goes haywire. Drac becomes human, which to him means out of shape and a bit pathetic, like a stereotype of an American on vacation, raising uncomfortable questions about whether the transformations are a commentary on the subject’s essential self or on humans. in general. It’s made even worse by the human forms that Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin take on – one is handsome, the other ancient. Either way, no one cares about remaining altered, and they all have to travel the world to find a crystal to transform them back into so it doesn’t become permanent.
It’s hard to overstate how garish and frenetic this whole enterprise is. Even with the explosion of colors, it struggles to hold interest. The maniacal “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” doesn’t seem to be for parents or very young children. There might be a sweet spot for 8-12 year olds who can love these characters and be on board for whatever adventure they find themselves in, but even that might test their patience.
Available January 14 on Amazon Prime Video.
What “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” • A star out of four • Duration 1:34 • Rating PG for cartoon nudity, some action, and crude humor