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MOVIE REVIEW

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation also known as “Hotel Transylvania 3,” “Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation,” “Hotel Transylvania 3: Monstruos de vacaciones,” “Hotel Transilvania 3: Unas vacaciones monstruosas,” “Hotel Transilvania 3: Vacaciones monstruosas,” See all »

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for some action and rude humor.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Kids • Family
Genre:
Animation Family Comedy 3D Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
July 13, 2018 (wide—4,267 theaters)
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Holding on to grudges

Gambling

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

The false romantic concept that there is only one potential true love in a person’s life

For a follower of Christ, what is LOVE—a feeling, an emotion, or an action? Answer

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Featuring: Adam SandlerCount Dracula—540-year-old lord of the vampires and son of Vlad (voice)
Andy SambergJonathan “Johnny” Loughran—29-year-old human, Mavis’s husband, Dennis’ father (voice)
Selena GomezMavis—126-year-old daughter of Dracula (voice)
Kevin JamesFrankenstein (“Frank”) (voice)
Fran Drescher … Eunice—Frankenstein’s wife (voice)
Steve BuscemiWayne—a werewolf with many children (voice)
Molly ShannonWanda—Wayne’s werewolf wife (voice)
David SpadeGriffin, the Invisible Man (voice)
Keegan-Michael KeyMurray—a mummy (voice)
Jim GaffiganVan Helsing (voice)
Kathryn HahnEricka (voice)
Mel BrooksVlad—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)
See all »
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky—“Samurai Jack,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Producer: Columbia Pictures
Media Rights Capital (MRC)
Sony Pictures Animation
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.
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.

Content of Concern

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.

Theme

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.

  • Violence: Moderately Heavy to Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Mild
  • Nudity: Mild
  • Occult: Mild
  • Profane language: None
  • Sex: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative
Negative—…A light little family movie for the winter school holidays, except littered throughout this movie are subtle—and not so subtle—LGBTIQIPPI influences. For instance, “We’re here and we’re Queer” chant from LGBTIQIPPI marches is paraphrased and used within the movie. Erica Van Helsig and her great-grandfather are made out to be righteous monsters (following the rules, but evil).

All sorts of love is pushed. Children are asked to accept the other—queer love, two parents of the same—as normal. A pair of werewolves abandon their large family of children and are happy about it. Little is made of Mavis’ attempts to kill Captain Erica. Her great-grandfather is made into a monster-like creature, much like Davros the Dalek from Dr. Who. A monster Tinder is used in the movie. Erica and Dracula become a couple and sneak away for “alone time.” Despite that, Erica is concerned that Dracula will drink all her blood. I explained to my children some of the symbolism that they used in the movie. Having prayed before we went to the movies, it felt like we were under attack to accept “different as normal” in a sexual way. It wasn’t overt, but still be wary.
Cathryn Cavaney, age 51 (Australia)

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Secular Movie Critics
…the jokes that aren’t funny—not even to the supposedly undemanding (very young) audience these films are tailored to. …
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…worst entry in Adam Sandler’s animated monster series boards a hotel on water and sinks below the waves… [Director] Tartakovsky’s instincts are to keep the action moving quickly and let one piece of kid-friendly slapstick tumble into the next, but when the jokes are this consistently uninspired, it doesn’t matter how fast they’re dispensed. …
Scott Tobias, Variety
…Middle-of-the-road animation hawking hoary romantic myths… It’s also the series” biggest peddler yet of one of the most damaging lies movies have ever sold to young people: That there’s one and only one love out there for everyone in the world; that it can be recognized at first sight; and (advocates for the abused love this part) that you must never give up on that true match, even if she’s trying to kill not just you but all those you love. …
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
…not only is “Hotel Transylvania 3” easily the best film of the series, but it also feels more at home thematically on a cruise ship than its predecessors did at a haunted Transylvanian castle… [B-]
Jesse Hassenger, AV Club
…Another sharp sequel reminds humanity not to be monstrous… Adam Sandler and his spooky pals take a “Summer Vacation” and remind us all of the power of acceptance and understanding. …holds a timely message—one of acceptance, love, and tolerance of those different from us—that is especially needed right now. …
Jamie Righetti, IndieWire