Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Holding on to grudges
The false romantic concept that there is only one potential true love in a person’s life
Adam Sandler … Count Dracula—540-year-old lord of the vampires and son of Vlad (voice)
Andy Samberg … Jonathan “Johnny” Loughran—29-year-old human, Mavis’s husband, Dennis’ father (voice)
Selena Gomez … Mavis—126-year-old daughter of Dracula (voice)
Kevin James … Frankenstein (“Frank”) (voice)
Fran Drescher … Eunice—Frankenstein’s wife (voice)
Steve Buscemi … Wayne—a werewolf with many children (voice)
Molly Shannon … Wanda—Wayne’s werewolf wife (voice)
David Spade … Griffin, the Invisible Man (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key … Murray—a mummy (voice)
Jim Gaffigan … Van Helsing (voice)
Kathryn Hahn … Ericka (voice)
Mel Brooks … Vlad—an ancient vampire and father of Dracula (voice)
Asher Blinkoff … Dennis Loughran—Mavis and Johnny’s 6-year-old son who is a human/vampire hybrid (voice)
Libby Thomas Dickey … Lucy (voice)
Chris Parnell … Stan / Fish Man (voice)
Joe Jonas … The Kraken (voice)
Chrissy Teigen … Crystal (voice)
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|Director||Genndy Tartakovsky—“Samurai Jack,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”|
Media Rights Capital (MRC)
Sony Pictures Animation
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|Distributor||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
Have you ever wondered how Hotel Transylvania came to be? It’s actually quite a story! Dracula, the Blob, Frank, and the Invisible Man were on the run from the infamous monster hunter Van Helsing. After multiple unsuccessful attempts by Van Helsing to kill Dracula and his crew, Dracula realized it was time to create a place where monsters could go to be safe, where they could be free from being hunted and persecuted on the basis of their looks. And so, in the year 1897, Hotel Transylvania came to pass.
Time (and two other films) has passed and things have been progressing well at Hotel Transylvania. In fact, things have never been busier for Maive and Dracula as the two run the hotel together, while Maive takes care of her half-human/half-vampire Dennis. Still, even in the craze, Dracula begins to feel a sense of loneliness. After all, it has been almost 100 years since his wife died.
Maive, mistaking Dracula’s loneliness as a need to escape the craze of the hotel, takes it upon herself to take her family (including Dracula’s crew) on a much needed vacation, a cruise from the Bermuda Triangle to the lost city of Atlantis. “This is just what we all need right now!” Maive thinks. And, indeed, on the cruise, Dracula finds love, or his “zing” as monsters call it, in the beautiful Captain Erica. Over time, though, Maive starts to suspect something is wrong, not only with her father, but with Captain Erica. All aboard the, uh, pleasure cruise…
To start, let me be straight forward in stating that a “Hotel Transylvania 3” did not REALLY need to be made. Frankly, the second movie wasn’t nearly as strong as the first film in pretty much every aspect: plot, humor, heart and originality. It came as a surprise to me, then, when last year it was announced that there would be a “Hotel Transylvania 3.” The second film had, essentially, provided a sufficient conclusion to the “Hotel Transylvania” series—everyone is getting along, the hotel is still standing and thriving, etc.—and there were no other themes, backstories, or characters the series NEEDED to explore.
Nonetheless, a “Hotel Transylvania 3” was made, and I must admit it serves as a relatively nice addition to the series. I would put it at the same moviemaking level as the second film. The plot is simple (arguably, too simple at times) and easy for children to follow, predictable in virtually every single way (at least for the adults or the frequent movie-goer). And yet, I didn’t mind the ride because of the film’s numerous messages that are promoted: the inseparable bond of family and the importance of being together, the acceptance of one another despite our appearances, and the importance of marriage and raising a family. The downside, however, is the potty humor, and particularly the, uh, sexually suggestive content—especially for a PG-rated children’s film, has increased since the last film.
Violence: Moderately Heavy to Heavy. In a flashback, a monster hunter, Van Helsing, is seen continuously attempting to kill Dracula and his crew in various ways, but failing each time (a ray gun, chasing them with a car, and a scene where Van Helsing falls off a cliff into some water). Lucy spikes around a room as she becomes anxious before her walk down the aisle at a wedding. One wolf eats Frank’s (aka Frankenstein) fingers. A wolf, while in flight, takes off his seatbelt and his head goes through the ceiling of the plane and he’s seen holding on to the wing. A villain tries to shoot a flare at Dracula, but it hits Blobby (aka the Blob) and goes right into him, which makes Blobby explode. The same villain tries to drop a boat on Dracula, but it lands on Blobby. The villain, lastly, is seen trying to drop a crate on Dracula, but it lands on Blobby. The villain attempts to shoot submarine missiles at Drac and his family. When El Chupacabra orders a drink, it comes with a goat, and we hear the goat scream off screen (we can assume the goat has been eaten). There is an extensive scene where Drac and Erika are shown dancing together in an attempt to avoid death traps. A Kraken is seen attacking groups of monsters, destroying a platform, and causing chaos in the process. A volleyball is smashed into someone’s face. Someone has a close call with a propeller.
Sex/Nudity/Suggestive Content: Suggestive comments are made, such as “Maybe you’ll find your own fireworks on the cruise,” “Let’s get wild,” “Yummy,” and “Would you like to see my buns?” Drac is seen using a dating app called ZINGR. Witches wear cleavage baring outfits on the cruise. Vlad (Drac’s father) is seen shirtless and in a speedo as he is about to sunbathe on the deck (the witches, next to him, eyeball and murmur about his behind). Some other male characters are seen shirtless as they swim and male servers on the ship wear very skimpy shorts. Characters dance to the suggestive song, “Macarena.” Winnie kisses Dennis on the cheek. Drac and his crew dress in women’s cloaks to disguise themselves on a train.
Language: Drac, dumbfounded and unable to organize his thoughts, states to Erika, when trying to ask her on a date, “Would you like to see my parts?” The phrase “what the-“ is cut off.
Other: Dracula hypnotizes a couple people and animals. There’s a scene involving gremlin snot and one involving dog saliva. Blobby throws up and creates a kid in the process. Frank farts underwater. Dracula and Mavis are both seen farting. Two werewolves are tranquilized and kidnapped. There is also a scene that takes place at a casino.
One of the most central themes to “Hotel Transylvania 3” is the “strength in family.” Mavis’ intention in sending everyone on vacation is so that the family can spend more time together and build memories. Having spent most of my time in a Christian school, I grew up around the following belief that a Christian had only three priorities in his life, and they were always in the following order: God, your family and then everything else and that those latter two should always center around God. The Bible is clear about how God expects a household to be brought up and how those, whose family are brought up in the Lord, are strengthened because of it.
“For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” -1 Timothy 3:5
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” -1 Timothy 5:8
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” –Proverbs 22:6
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:4
As I watched “Hotel Transylvania 3” amongst a small crowd of parents with their young ones, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the kids, most of them between 6-12 I would guess, grew tireless and restless at points throughout the film. For a film that is marketed FOR children, that doesn’t speak well for HT3. Are there parts that are enjoyable? Sure? Humorous? Sort of. Memorable? Not really. Is it a nice installment? Relatively.
Would I recommend it? No. The suggestive content in this film has increased from the last film—DRAMATICALLY—which, in my eyes, makes this film not acceptable for children (not to mention this film still promotes Halloween figures), even with an Average rating (this could be a borderline “Offensive”). Go see “Incredibles 2” instead or, perhaps, spend time with your family in a different manner.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.