Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation has hit theaters. Now, you might want to run and hide at the scary thought of taking your kids to yet another cartoon sequel. But this “threequel” tries really hard not to be tiresome, and for the most part, it succeeds.
The secret of the Hotel Transylvania franchise’s success is that the filmmakers really know their audience. They know elementary school age kids are fascinated by monsters, don’t mind a little fright every now and again, but have no desire to be terrified. Hotel Transylvania 3 succeeds on this front, much like its predecessors. The familiar monsters are comical rather than scary, and they’ve long outgrown their frightening tendencies and animosity toward humans. Thus, Drac (of Dracula fame, the voice of Adam Sandler) is worried about being a good parent and grandfather and is no longer interested in necks (I’m not sure what he drinks for lunch instead, perhaps a blood orange smoothie).
RELATED: Review our Hotel Transylvania 2 review here.
Parents — Generation X and Millennials — want to be reasonably entertained and not fall asleep face first into their trough of popcorn. Hotel Transylvania 3 succeeds on this front too. In the highly relatable concept for this sequel, Drac and his friends are a little stressed. Drac’s grown daughter Mavis (the voice of Selena Gomez) suggests a vacation for their family and friends, and surprises her dad with a cruise especially designed for monsters. Parents will get a kick out of Drac’s unique choice of vacation wardrobe, including a Hawaiian shirt and shorts that are WAY too short.
They might also be amused by the introduction of villains to this Hotel Transylvania installment. Drac’s longtime nemesis is Van Helsing, now ancient, who has held a grudge after numerous defeats by the vampire. Drac is killing it in the looks department—being immortal does have its perks—while Van Helsing is decrepit and practically half machine. Van Helsing’s great-granddaughter Ericka (the voice of Kathryn Hahn), however, is stunning. She happens to be the captain of the monster cruise. The guests have no clue as to her true identity as the heiress of the Van Helsings’ monster vendetta. Drac soon finds himself falling for her.
The climax does get a little scary for very young viewers. There’s a big payoff there for Gen X parents when “The Macarena” is acknowledged as perhaps the greatest song ever (but that is the subject of a different post).
Hotel Transylvania 3 will not make you feel like driving a stake through the hearts of the filmmakers. Not at all. Instead, you’ll be thanking them for making your family’s summer getaway to the coolness of an air-conditioned movie theater pretty fun.
For more summer movie fun, visit my friends at Common Sense Media.