Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation

 

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Adam Sandler voices Dracula again in a redundant and hideous addition to the strident cartoon 

franchise.

 
Hotel Transylvania 3

Van Helsing takes aim

 

The oeuvre of Adam Sandler, in spite of the obscene amounts of money the actor has made, has not met with universal critical acclaim. To many, Sandler’s appeal remains inexplicable, and the second sequel to Hotel Transylvania (2012) is unlikely to win him any new disciples. A desperate attempt to capitalize on an already iffy scenario, A Monster Vacation hurls anything and everything at the screen in an emetic attempt to lure more bums on seats. The director of the first two outings, Genndy Tartakovsky – not to be confused with the Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky – is on record as saying, “two is enough – I have a lot of other ideas.” But after Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) grossed $473.2 million worldwide, Tartakovsky found himself back in the driver’s seat and gamely grappling at straws.

 

Adam Sandler returns as the voice of Dracula, the count now being a hotelier for both the curious and the ghoulish. The twist, as revealed in the last film, is that the Vampire has now accepted the human race as equals and welcomes homo sapien guests to his castle. But his loving daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez), now married to a mortal dude, worries that her father is over-worked. So she arranges a surprise vacation for him and the family on a luxury cruise ship, whereupon the unsuspecting count finds himself at the mercy of his old adversary, Professor Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan).

 

The computer animation here, even more so than in the previous films, seems entirely arbitrary, as if a mischievous child had hacked into the emoji drive of a motherboard and unleashed it on the world. Think of a contortionist’s vision of Salvador Dalí juggled with Francis Bacon and you will be in the right ballpark. The anything-goes, visually illogical result is like watching a bad dream come to life, supplemented by an over-bearing soundtrack peppered with familiar chart-topping hits. For those who think monsters dancing along to The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations is the height of cinematic wit, then this may be for them. But in a golden age of animation, A Monster Vacation is like a shot of bile in your pint of nectar.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Mel Brooks, Alison Hammond, Chris Parnell.

 

Dir Genndy Tartakovsky, Pro Michelle Murdocca, Screenplay Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers, Pro Des Scott Wills, Ed Joyce Arrastia, Music Mark Mothersbaugh.

 

Sony Pictures Animation-Sony Pictures.

97 mins. USA. 2018. Rel: 27 July 2018. Cert. U.