In this fourth (yep, we’d forgotten there were that many too) installment of the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ franchise, Drac (Brian Hull) is considering retirement and handing the hotel over to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg). But Drac changes his mind upon remembering that Johnny is, well Johnny, and when his son-in-law turns to help from Van Helsing, Johnny ends up turned into a monster while Drac becomes human, as do Drac’s friends. Johnny and Drac have to team up on a quest to switch themselves back before the transformations become permanent – and before their wives find out what they’ve done…
‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’ opens on a flashback of Drac remembering when it was “just the two of us”, namely him and Mavis – when his daughter was little and they’d have fun all around the hotel. Across the series she’s gotten married and had a baby, while the last instalment also saw Drac find love.
The bonds of love and family have proven the emotional crux of the series and while repetitive, that’s also what makes the series tolerable for adult viewers. For kids, meanwhile, there’s plenty of silliness, including those godawful plotless dance sequences. Then you’ve the continuation of visual gags brought about by the monster characters across the series. There’s some slapstick and pratfalls thrown in too, and despite the weak plot, audiences should allow themselves a giggle and to feel like a kid again as they embrace the film’s humour.
Johnny, voiced by the fittingly cast Andy Samberg, is as lovable and annoying as ever as the human caught up in a world of monsters. Now Drac and his friends (voiced by such talents as Steve Buscemi, David Spade and Keegan Michael-Key) are learning what it’s like from his side. Again, the jokes are consistently of the silly variety, but there are plenty of laughs to be had as the wives find out what their other halves have done. Sometimes all you need is that relatability for a good chuckle.
Adam Sandler, for unknown reasons, did not return as the voice of Drac for this latest ‘Hotel Transylvania’ but his replacement, David Hull, does an apt impression, so you don’t even notice. As for where it fares compared to previous installments, this is a slight improvement on three, though not as strong as the first or second film, and the climax is probably the least interesting part of the movie. Still, with it streaming on Amazon, you don’t even have to leave your couch to check ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’ and it’s always worth embracing one’s inner child every now and again.
Watch it on Amazon Prime from Friday, 14 January.