The story-line is straightforward: it has been over a century since Count Dracula has been romantically involved with anyone and over a century since the death of his wife Martha. Oblivious to this, Mavis attributes his behavior to the fact he’s overworked and in need of “family time” and books them on a monster cruise hosted by a woman named Ericka, who (in the trailers as well) is revealed to as a member of the Van Helsing family that wishes to eliminate Dracula.
The reason I went and watched Hotel Transylvania 3 is mostly to do with the fact my fiancée gets a kick out of the series (I guilty pleasure on the order of when I watch a Full Moon Feature film) and I find them agreeably competent. A worry I had and one that might’ve occurred to you has to do with the name and premise of the film itself. The worry I had is that “Summer Vacation” was indicative that the series had run out of ideas and was effectively phoning it in with the subsequent release. I believed this heading into the theater until it dawned on me the series’ storylines have always been very thrown together, especially with the Hotel Transylvania 2 film. As I’ve said, the series does the bare-minimum in-terms of storyline in-order to have a vehicle to entertain children with its colorful décor and silly characters. In this film, I left with the belief it even has a slightly better story dynamic than what was seen in the last couple films. Mind you, the storyline remains riddled with clichés, predictable outcomes, and ham-fisted faux attempts at nuance.
From my perspective, the most appealing aspects were the fast-paced gags and vibrant animation, and Hotel Transylvania 3’s loose setting gives it the means to stretch its legs some more from what we’d seen in what came before.
The humor remains very low-brow, focusing more on entertaining the younger crowd, through predictable bodily humor and goofy happenstances. On some level, I factor in the fact Hotel Transylvania’s demographic, however, I am aware of how other animations have been able to walk the line with more grace and more satisfactory results. It isn’t that I expect a film like this to have in-depth relationships or dynamics, but enough competence to get-by without reliance on generic gags and gratuitous toilet-humor.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation fans can rejoice in knowing the film is the best of the series yet. The film isn’t likely to attracted in new viewers for the series or buck off any criticisms everyone’s had about the series, but it remains a soft-hitting, simple affair, propped up by its restricted but exuberant animation.