REVIEW: ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ has its moments, but lags behind rest of series

The third “Hotel Transylvania” film, like the second in the franchise, provides some fun moments and creates laughs. Yet, it still doesn’t reach the level of the first.

The third movie in the series picks up with Dracula (Adam Sandler) not only being overworked, but also finding himself quite lonely lately. Despite feeling that he wants to remain loyal to his late wife, Drac decides that it might be time to look for another person to start a relationship.

Just as he’s having this thought process, Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) decides to take her dad on a summer vacation to get away from the stress of running the hotel. So, Dracula and his friends, as well as Mavis and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) all go on a mega cruise made specifically for monsters. The only problem is cruise is actually managed by the great granddaughter of Van Helsing, who continues to have a grudge against Dracula.

While the first “Hotel” film (and even the second to an extent) offered something a bit different and fresh, the third movie in the franchise takes things in a more straightforward direction. In fact, the movie was so generic and simplistic at times, that it felt almost like a made-for-TV or straight-to-DVD type picture.

It’s something that the DreamWorks Animation studio has done quite often, where it will release smaller films with what can basically be considered side stories on home video, and keep the more high-profile pictures for the cinemas. That’s somewhat how “Hotel Transylvania 3” feels like, the quality isn’t up there like the first couple were, especially when it comes to the story.

Similar to its predecessors, though, “HT3” earns some points back for its animation. Not only does the movie look well-polished, the designs look nice, too. One consistent factor in this whole series is the designs of both the characters and the settings. Often times the characters look very unique and the settings are animated to look over-the-top to match.

The movie, penned by Michael McCullers and Genndy Tartakovsky, is also quite funny. While not all jokes land, there’s a good variety to allow a family to have a good time and plenty of fun gags that play with the clichés of these classic characters.

The lead characters in the movie, which this time around are Dracula and Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn) make for a pretty good couple. However, I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed with the characters Johnny and Mavis being largely sidelined for much of the picture.

“Hotel Transylvania 3” is likable enough in some aspects, but it never reaches the heights of its predecessor, or movies from rival animation studios for that matter. 2.75 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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