Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll confess that I’ve never seen the first two Hotel Transylvania films. It may seem funny to start with the third chapter of a film series, but so be it. Adam Sandler leads the voice cast here, along with several others including Kevin James, Andy Samberg and David Spade, to name just a few. The film was another Box Office hit, which means we might be seeing a 4th chapter before long. I will more than likely sit that one out as this one did very little for me. I imagine it offers more of the same when compared to the first two, but having never seen them, I can’t confirm. I will say that I think the young ones, the intended audience will find plenty to enjoy here.
It’s 1897 and Dracula (Adam Sandler) travels to Budapest along with some friends. We see than Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) is on the train and hopes to defeat Dracula once and for all. Dracula manages to escape to safety, but Van Helsing hasn’t been stopped for good. We then cut to present day where Dracula is managing his hotel and has a daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her son Johnny (Andy Samberg). Mavis books a cruise for her father to try and cheer him up since he’s a bit down. Dracula soon falls for the ship’s captain named Erika (Kathryn Hahn). We learn that Erika is Van Helsing’s Great-granddaughter. Van Helsing’s plan is to ultimately kill all the monsters and eventually, Dracula as well. We then follow this trend of Erika and Van Helsing trying to defeat Dracula as he continues to try and win her over.
The plot should offer no surprises to anyone, but if you’ve followed the films this far, maybe this will do more for you than me. I felt this one was more of a cash grab before anything else. There were some mildly amusing bits, but this became a pretty touch endurance test before long. The animation is at least visually pleasing and some of the characters are fun to watch, but that’s about all the enthusiasm I can muster. While I can’t speak for the first two, I certainly hope they’re more rewarding than this one. I suppose young ones will enjoy it, but all others be warned.
Video: How’s it look?
Sony is dedicated to putting out some of the best looking Blu-ray transfers out there and they usually succeed. Truthfully, there’s not a lot that could make this one look bad. Generally speaking every computer animated film will look amazing and this is no exception. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image is jaw-dropping in its presentation. Colors are vibrant, subtle textures are so lifelike (pardon the pun) that you feel they’re in the room with you. Detail is accurate and black levels and contrast are solid. Likely you’ll know what you’re in for when you put the disc in your player, but in case you don’t – let me assure you that this looks the part.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a depth and presence to it that I really wasn’t expecting. While the front stage handles the action without a second thought, it’s the use of the surrounds that really made this a great experience. Channel separation made for a great viewing experience. Vocals are crisp and clean and though the LFE don’t have many chances to strut their stuff, I caught a few instances. All in all it’s a great-sounding movie.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary– Director and Co-Writer Genndy Tartakovsky, Scott Wills and Michael Ford combine for what I’m sure is a great track. I, however, didn’t have the inclination to listen to it. If this movie is your thing, knock yourself out – I’m sure you’ll learn a lot about the film or, more to the point, how it managed to make over $400 million dollars worldwide.
- Original Shorts!– A duo of short films starring characters from the movie.
- Goodnight Mr. Foot
- Scary-Oke Sing Alongs!– No, there’s nothing deeper here. Below are three “songs” that have the animated characters as they sing the song. Thoughtful as the filmmakers are, the words have been included on the screen (in large font, so if you’re old you can read).
- Dennis Had a Giant Dog
- Monsters Like to Party Down
- Oh, These Wolf Pups!
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along with Denisovitch!– If you ever wanted to sing some monster-themed lullaby’s (and who hasn’t), here’s four to whet your whistle. There’s one for the holidays, too. Thoughtful.
- Hush Little Monster
- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat
- Vlad Had a Little Drac
- Holiday Scary-Oke: “Deck the Halls”
- Behind the Screams: The Voices of Hotel Transylvania 3– Yes, it’s exactly what you thought. This 7-minute feature has interviews with the main talent in the film and some of their candid thoughts therein. David Spade, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and others…
- Meet the New Characters– As the title says, we meet some of the new “creeps” in the film: The Gremlins, The Fishmen, Captain Ericka, Can Helsing, The Kraken,
- Johnny’s Home Movies– If, by some chance, you’ve missed the first two installments in the franchise, this five-minute recap will have you caught up…in five minutes.
- Drac’s Zing-Tastic ReadAlong – A two-minute “ode” to Sandler’s character of Drac, complete with words on the screen. Yay.
- Monster Activities!– If you want to have a Hotel Transylvania-themed party (and who doesn’t?!), here are some activities to get you started.
- Plan Your Own Spook-Tacular Sleepover
- Vampire Make-Overs: Mavis and Drac Make-up How to
- How to Draw Dracula
- How to Make Your own Watermelon Jack-O-Lantern
- “I See Love” Dance Party– I…I don’t know what this is or what it’s supposed to be. I guess (think) it’s a music video, but it has the “real” actors who voiced their animated counterparts dancing alongside their animated selves. Suffice it to say, it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.
- Lyric Videos– This one isn’t that hard to decipher, it’s music videos with words on the screen. So now you and all your friends can sing along! Rejoice!
- “It’s Party Time”
- “I See Love”
- “Seavolution” by Tiësto
- “Mommy, My Hero”
- More Hotel T! – If you wanted/needed more Hotel Transylvania, here’s your chance!
- Hotel TransylvaniaTrailer
- Hotel Transylvania 2Trailer
- Hotel Transylvania MonstersMobile Game Trailer
- Previews – Goosebumps 2, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Peter Rabbit, Hotel Transylvania: The Series, Destined to Ride
The Bottom Line
Feeling like nothing more than a cash grab, Hotel 3 became a chore to sit though. Having never seen the first two, I can’t compare, but surely they’re more enjoyable than this. I think one thing to take into consideration is that the intended audience may enjoy it, but it did little for me. Proceed with caution. There’s far better animated fare out there.