Thinking that her father Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) strange behaviour is the result of being overworked, Mavis (Selena Gomez) organises a monster-friendly cruise for them, their family and friends. Dracula is initially hesitant, thinking a vacation is unnecessary, but he changes his mind when he meets the ship’s captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). Romance starts to bloom but little does the Count know that Ericka harbours a secret.
Animated films never have an easy time going up against the likes of Disney, Dreamworks and, of late, Illumination Animation (in case you don’t know the name, it’s the studio behind the ‘Despicable Me’ and ‘Minions’ series, so yeah, they’ve made a lot of money). Still the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ franchise has managed to hold its own, making significant returns on their budgets in the box office, with the first movie costing $85 million and making $358.4 million worldwide, while the second grossed $473.2 million from a budget of $80 million.
For outing number three, all the characters from previous instalments – Dracula, Mavis, Johnny, their son Dennis, Frankenstein, Griffin the Invisible Man, Wayne the werewolf, and their other halves – are back, while there’s a new addition in the family’s giant dog pet, Tinkles, who young audiences will go gaga for.
The movie zips along with its rather silly sense of humour. The world of monsters provides loads of potential for caricatures and visual gags, which the franchise knows and doesn’t waste an opportunity to exploit. There’s a joke about werewolves being like dogs who love to play fetch in the water, and a skeleton at a buffet who eats everything at the table but it goes right through his bones.
While the film is mostly geared towards kids, there are jokes for adults too. In one great sequence, the werewolf (a superb casting choice in Steve Buscemi) and his wife (a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Molly Shannon) discover the ship’s kids club and realise someone will willingly mind their children while they do whatever they want. Other pluses include the creative design of The Lost City of Atlantis, and the film’s conclusive DJ battle which adults will probably get more from than the kids.
You’ll likely forget the film soon after seeing it, but at least it’s an improvement on ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’, returning to the heart and humour of the first film of the series.