Hotel Transylvania: Transformania brings the $1 billion family film franchise to a fun and satisfying conclusion. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the animated movie is part road-trip comedy, part body-swap story, with loads of heart and humor.
It kicks off with vampire Dracula (Brian Hull) reuniting with his various monster friends and family to celebrate the 125th anniversary of his European resort. While he plans to retire and give the business to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez,) he is concerned about whether his well-meaning but eccentric human son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) is mature enough to help her with the new responsibilities.
Hoping to make himself more appealing to Drac, Johnny seeks the help of Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan,) who uses a monsterfication ray to transform Johnny into an enormous, goofy-looking creature. Through a series of unfortunate events, Dracula and his pals – invisible man Griffin (David Spade,) werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi,) mummy Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) and Frank (Brad Abrell) – are also turned into people. Some of the best laughs come from the fact they don’t look like what they or the viewers expect them to.
Hull and Abrell take over voice roles originated by Adam Sandler and Kevin James, but they do such a good job of inhabiting the characters (who look different this time around anyway) that the casting change doesn’t impact the viewing experience. The movie’s biggest flaw is that it takes too long showing Dracula chasing Johnny around the castle trying to keep him from revealing his new self to Mavis, which Drac fears will get HIM in trouble with his daughter.
But once they leave the hotel and head to South America to find a crystal that will reverse the ray and return them to their former bodies, the film has a “fish-out-of-water” feel and really takes off.This also is the first time audiences see Drac and Johnny alone and talking for an extended amount of time. Without his supernatural powers and out of his element, Drac is dependent on his son-in-law and gradually begins to understand what his daughter sees in him.
Before it can get too emotional, however, the other monsters arrive in the jungle to help them find the crystal. Watching them travel by blimp, jeep and boat gives audiences the sense they are on a wild theme-park ride with some of their favorite people. The film is the fourth in the series and has been announced as the final installment. SPOILER ALERT! Everyone gets the happy ending they deserve and the hotel is passed down to the next generation. This movie feels like the perfect place to wrap up the franchise and say goodbye to characters we’ve loved for the past decade before they wear out their welcomes.
Final Grade: B+
Check out more of Karen Butler’s articles.
Here’s the trailer of the film.