Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania franchise comes to a conclusion after 10 years, three films, and just under $1.4billion in box office. That last number is unlikely to change, given the film will roll out on Amazon Prime Video following a $100million purchase by the streamer. It’s a curious move for the franchise, but these are unusual times. So, the spooky series goes the way of Coming 2 America and The Tomorrow War, hopefully with better results.
Adam Sandler returns as the voice of Count Dracula, having found love in the previous movie and getting ready to start a new chapter with wife Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). He plans to retire and give Hotel Transylvania to his beloved daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and less-beloved son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg). However, Johnny’s antics make Dracula change his mind and lie that Johnny can’t inherit the property because he is human. This leads Johnny to find a ray that turns him into a monster, but chaos ensues and “Drac”, along with his monster buddies, are all turned human. Johnny and Dracula must find a way to reverse the spell before the changes become permanent.
After meeting the in-laws, having grandchildren, and going on vacation, the franchise leans on another story that feels borrowed from somewhere else. The plots of these films have always been broad guidelines, intended to set up a series of slapstick set pieces, and this is no different. Moving at lightning pace (less than 80 minutes before the credits roll), a lot of action glosses over the paper-thin story. Quite why the film needs an opening montage of Sandler howling along to Just The Two of Us, or a long dance break set to 2000 hit Cha Cha Slide, is anybody’s guess. Everyone seems to be doing their best to fill the time however they can.
That’s not to say there aren’t chuckle worthy moments. Sandler and Sandberg are given free reign to be their wackiest selves, with the former’s comedic crankiness working well beside the latter’s endless energy. The rest of the cast are there to react and move the story along – Sandler cohorts David Spade and Steve Buscemi seem to be having fun as Drac’s buddies, while Gomez adds some sentiment (fun fact: original choice Miley Cyrus claims she lost the role of Mavis after posing with a penis shaped birthday cake).
“I guess it’s always been hard for me to see the positive side of things” Drac admits during a heart-to-heart with Johnny. It’s a sentiment many will share while watching, as the most paper-thin of franchises lumbers to its final resting place. Perhaps it’s appropriate that this debuts on streaming, as the bright colours and brisk running time seem designed to keep your little monsters occupied, but little more.
Transylvania: Transformania is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from 14th January.