'Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation' review: Outrageously silly

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation doesn’t really offer anything new in terms of what it wants to say, but that’s not exactly a problem.

In a world still struggling with division, a riotous cartoon that’s aimed at impressionable children and tells the story of love amidst glaring differences is still very much a good thing.

Change of scenery

The now 6-year old franchise about single-dad Dracula (Adam Sandler) who allows Mavis (Selena Gomez), his only daughter, to get married to Jonathan, a rather ordinary if not totally ditzy human (Andy Samberg) is starting to show signs of tiredness. The mix of gaudy accents, from Dracula’s exaggerated Bela Lugosi-inspired intonations to Mrs. Frankenstein (Fran Drescher) haughty housewife shtick, are no longer as funny. The conceit of monsters as a bunch of goofs is already far from novel.

In an effort to bring about a much-needed change of scenery, Tartakovsky pulls out the breezy narrative away from the titular boutique tourist lodge and straight into the middle of the ocean where a monsters-only vacation cruise is on its way to Atlantis.

TIRED. Dracula and the gang try to have a little vacation, with riot results.

TIRED. Dracula and the gang try to have a little vacation, with riot results.

There, Dracula, who in the beginning of the movie is starting to feel lonely, becomes enamored with Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), the cruise’s human captain and secretly, the great-granddaughter of Dracula’s arch-nemesis Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan). The other monsters, including a werewolf couple who just can’t get a second of rest from parenting their pack of puppies, and a trio of witches on the lookout for a hunk to catch, are in a hurry to enjoy the bizarre amenities a ship served by stylish sardines can offer.

The plot isn’t new. It’s a love story the implications of which draws closely to the franchise’s precious theme of acceptance. It is mostly used by Tartakovsky to frame a frenzied parade of gags and jokes, the best ones being utterly absurd to the point of absolute hilarity.

GIDDY. Dracula seems to have a little crush on the ship's captain.

GIDDY. Dracula seems to have a little crush on the ship's captain.

Ocean full of monsters

Tartakovsky has an entire ocean full of monsters to literally play around with.

A blob, seemingly seasick, vomits. The vomit turns out to be his baby. A bat-like monster, who turns out to be Tartakovsky’s imagining of the el chupacabra, asks a bartender for a drink. The bartender sends out a martini glass with a live goat.

As the cruise enters Atlantis, tentacles start to wrap the luxurious vessel in what would have been reminiscent of pictures of monstrous giant squid victimizing ships during the Age of Exploration. The creature to whom the tentacles belong to start to belt out a jazzy number to introduce the lost city as a Vegas-style casino.

There are literally no physical boundaries to the movie’s visual wit.

Logic’s a bore and this movie has no desire to be a torturous slog. There are times when the jokes don’t land as elegantly, but the movie is quick to spurt out gag after gag that it is almost impossible not to fall for any of its comedic attempts.

One of its highlights is a romantic dance interlude where flames, snakes and poison arrows are bursting like confetti. The fact that the movie’s climax is a DJ battle, where bombastic EDM is vanquished by the curious charms of Los del Rio’s La Macarena, is a testament to how it is so spiritedly crazed.

FUN TIME.  Mavis and Jonathan watch the entertainment provided by the ship.

FUN TIME. Mavis and Jonathan watch the entertainment provided by the ship.

Relentless slapstick

Hotel Transylvania 3 is just unabashedly silly.

The color, the relentless slapstick and the frenetic pacing will undoubtedly endear the kids. The strangeness of it all, its wit, and its audacity to just let go and be ultimately inane will be what’s most charming to the adults.  – Rappler.com 

 

Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.

Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.