Cast: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan
Directors: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Let’s start off this review by calling a spade a spade. Once you do more than three movies in a franchise, you have to just come out and admit that the rest of the movies are just cash grabs. Can we all agree that to be the case? I think that will make this movie more digestible for everyone. So, if we understand that to be true, how does Hotel Transylvania: Transformania stack up to those standards? Honestly, it’s fine. It’s nothing spectacular, but let’s not pretend the first three movies were pieces of art either. When we consider the target audience, this movie is colorful enough and enjoyable enough to keep children happy for the majority of the 87 minute runtime. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the usual group of Adam Sandler and friends coming together for a nice little movie that the whole family can enjoy together.
The film continues the story of Dracula (voiced by Brian Hull) as he celebrates the 125th anniversary of his hotel’s opening. Wanting to hand the hotel over to his daughter Mavis (voiced by Gomez) and her human husband Johnny (voiced by Samburg), Dracula has concerns that Johnny will go too crazy with some of his ideas and destroy all of what Dracula built, so Dracula makes up a story that Johnny can’t own the hotel since he isn’t a monster. To address this, Johnny turns himself into a monster and in the process accidentally turns Dracula into a human. In order to get things back to normal, Dracula and Johnny must travel to find a way to undo these changes and come to terms with each other’s differences along the way. The one positive thing I will say about the movie is I was impressed by the voice acting. Adam Sandler did not come back to the leading role for this movie, but until I looked up the cast for this movie, I had no idea that he wasn’t in this movie. I give credit to Hull for voicing this leading role because he sounds absolutely spot on. Everyone else in the movie is pretty much just there to have a good time with their friends, so Hull and to a lesser part Samberg carry this movie from start to finish. Regarding the story, there is absolutely nothing original about it, but again we need to consider what the goals of this movie are. This movie is designed to be watched by young children, so including a new, complicated plot may alienate children who just want something entertaining. If you’ve ever seen any sort of movie before, regardless of the genre, you can formulate a pretty good guess as to what is going with every single character. From the opening scene you know exactly where this movie is going, but at the same time the movie showcases that storyline competently. Other than that, the animation style is captivating and looks almost exactly like some of the other well-received productions that Sony has released in recent years. It’s no Vivo or The Mitchell’s vs. the Machines, but it could have been something much worse like The Addams Family 2, so let’s count our blessings that we got something somewhat decent. If you like one of the countless movie stars in this film, you’ll enjoy seeing them in their performance regardless of the size of the role. This movie isn’t a step up from previous iterations of the franchise, but it isn’t a regression either. These movies have been consistent from the beginning even if they’ve been consistently average. I don’t know what the future holds for this franchise, but considering how much money has been pumped into these characters so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another movie down the line. I personally feel as though these movies have run their course, but the power of the dollar is a big motivator in this industry. If you want to sit down with the family and watch a quick, somewhat enjoyable movie, then Hotel Transylvania: Transformania will satisfy your needs, but at the most minimal level possible. I personally believe there are better options on Disney+ and Netflix, but if you have a soft spot for this franchise I can understand. Sanberg is a funny actor whether he’s in a physical role or a voice role, so in this movie he gets to shine once again for all of us to see.
Overall, if you have Amazon Prime, it costs you nothing to give this movie a try. Streaming really is the perfect place for a movie like this, because I don’t think it’s good enough to go out of your way to go watch. Perfectly average and docile, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is inoffensive but at the same time passionless. All else fails if you don’t like it, it’s only 83 minutes, so you don’t miss out on much even if you don’t enjoy it. I think children deserve better than having to watch this movie, but the power of a franchise is once you get your claws into a child it’s hard to get them disinterested. The bright lights and juvenile humor will keep them around for as long as Sony wants them to watch. It’s a goofy time for all, but don’t go into this expecting anything fantastic to emerge.
Final Thoughts: Stream It