The Hotel Transylvania franchise comes to an end with Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (really rolls off your tongue right?!) Does the fourth entry stick the landing? Find out more in our review below:
Dracula and his buddies Frankenstein, Werewolf, The Mummy and the Invisible Man already learned to accept humans and let the past go for good. They took care of a human baby, were trapped with a monster hunter on a vacation cruise and now, due to some shenanigans deposits by Van Helsing and Johnny, they have become human. The animated adventure was previously set for a theatrical release in October 2021, but after it was removed from Sony Pictures Schedule, it was picked up by Amazon Prime Video and hits the streamer this week.
In Hotel Transylvania: Transformania Johnny decides to turn himself into a monster in order to bond with his father-in-law, Dracula. But as with every mad scientist, Van Helsing’s species switching device gets broken and after a series of very chaotic events, not only does Johnny ends up as a monster, but Dracula and his gang get turned into humans. Now Dracula and Johnny have to go on a globe-trotting adventure in order to find the crystal that can switch everything back to normal. And they have to hurry, as the spell might not be as safe as they expect…
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania goes Freaky Friday
This film is basically Freaky Friday, but with monsters. As Jonathan (Andy Samberg) jokingly said in the trailer: “It’s like Freaky Friday, but on a Tuesday tho.” Audiences get what they know about the franchise: chaotic animation, slapstick humor and stories they’ve seen before but with monsters. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is no exception (even though it has a pretty low monster count), yet I still had a good time.
After three films the main character of the franchise has a new voice. Dracula is now voiced by the capable Brian Hull. Adam Sandler, who voiced the chaotic vampire over the first three films, has left the franchise after Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation. Hull brings the same chaotic and over-the-top energy to the character like Sandler before him, so there is no denying, they found the right replacement.
The focus of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is on the bond between Dracula and Johnny. Dracula still doesn’t fully accept Johnny, while the latter just wants to be a real part of the family. If that storyline seems familiar, well it’s because it is part of the first film in which Spoiler Alert: Dracula accepts and welcomes Johnny into the family at the end. That means we repeat the character arcs again, just to see Drac (as Johnny likes to call him) and his gang for one more time.
Where the first film was all about the monsters, we get to see less and less of them over the course of the sequels. While we get to see one or two new ones, for a few brief seconds in the actual Hotel (one voiced by Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins), the story focus is on the duo of Dracula and Johnny, who leave the hotel a quarter into the film in search of the magical crystal. Now they find themselves in the South American jungle where Dracula has to learn that being a human is hard, through a lot of predictable slapstick humor.
When the rest of the gang, including Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and his new wife Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), finds out about the species-changing shenanigans, they head right after them. Dracula’s gang, who have been highlights of the previous films, spend most of their screen time just running jokes in their human forms, taking away even more of the monster screen time, which is the selling point of the franchise. The Invisible Man turns into a naked human, while Frankenstein is now an influencer caricature, who just constantly takes selfies with a duckface.
The original had this father and daughter relationship at the center, with the father being scared to lose his daughter like how he lost his wife at the hands of humans. The newest entry is just a constant loud and chaotic string of repeating or predictable jokes and slapstick deposits. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, more than any other in the franchise, is clearly oriented at kids. It does not try to hide it, in fact, it embraces the over the top, chaotic, slapstick humor. But it feels too confident in its jokes, which is why you get the same ones all over again.
The screenplay also finds a way to trick the audiences into thinking that the story has stakes, even though it manages to retcon them a few minutes later. For example: Dracula and Johnny decide to take this long journey to find the crystal on foot, even though they clearly had other possibilities to get to their goal. And this happens only so that the movie can happen and the characters can have their arcs. There is no logical explanation why they choose this way, that is why the entire story feels very drawn out, thanks to the very lazy screenplay.
But as someone who enjoyed the first three films of the series, I had a good time with Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. With a short runtime clocking in at around 80 minutes, the film wastes no time and works as a whacky adventure for the entire family, even though kids will probably enjoy it more than their parents. While it’s very easily the worst entry in the franchise, there is still quite some fun to be had.
I give my Hotel Transylvania: Transformania review a 3/5
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania hits Amazon Prime Video on January 14, 2022.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska. The voice cast includes: Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Jim Gaffigan, Brad Abrell, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon and Keegan-Michael Key.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania Official Trailer
Are you executed about Hotel Transylvania: Transformania? What do you guys think of them replacing Adam Sandler? Which is your favorite entry in the franchise? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below and on our Social Media.