This has got to be one of the most entertaining animation series in recent times and ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation’ is no exception. Of course, the franchise is an acquired taste, and the purist may not like to see monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein performing like stand-up comedians.
The best thing about the movie is that the humour is not of the usual Disney/ Pixar variety. Though an American production, the animation style comes from the East European tradition. The director is the animator, Gennady Borisovich Tartokovsky, and he was born to Jewish parents in Moscow. He looks at all these monsters, especially the protagonist, the Romanian Count Dracula, and gives the film a great deal of class; a sort of old world clashing with the new ambience.
This edition starts off in the late 19th century on a train to Budapest. Dracula (Adam Sandler), along with an assorted group of monsters, are sitting in a compartment disguised as badly dressed Romanian peasants, but an anachronistic and aristocratic member of the human species, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), he of the Bram Stoker novel, with a particular distaste for monsters, gets on board and attempts to vanquish them.
A century later, monsters still have a tough life. So Dracula, as a senior member of his tribe, and a secular and modern capitalist to boot, is running a heritage hotel for their rest and recreation, ‘Hotel Transylvania’. As his wife passed away a long time ago, ‘Dracs’, as his friends call him, is very lonely, and so he gets on a dating application on his smart phone to select an appropriate monster for companionship. But most of his responses come from women who either have too many legs, or none at all, or have uncomfortable projectiles sticking out of their extremities.
Luckily, to take his mind off the loneliness, his daughter suggests a vacation designed specially for his kind. It is on a luxury cruise ship with pretty hairy stops on the way, like the Bermuda Triangle and the lost city of Atlantis. On this boat Count Dracula has a ‘zing’ experience. This is the event when a vampire falls in love. He meets the Captain of the Cruise Ship, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), and it is ‘zing’ at first sight.
Adam Sandler’s voicing of Dracula is accented and inventive. This, combined with the animator’s depiction of an exaggeratedly elegant walk, keep you going. Though there are parts of the film during which you lose focus a little, most of it is amusing, especially a sequence when the monsters attend a DJ Party. They all love to dance, and it turns out that only positive songs can keep the enemy at bay. What wins the last battle is when Dracula’s DJ plays ‘Macarena’. No monster killer can match that beat.
In short, this is a fine watch for adults and children alike