Review: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania | Houston Press

Title: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Describe this movie in one Love at first bite Quote:

COUNT DRACULA: Children of the night, shut up!

Brief plot summary: “What if we were the monsters from the start?”

Ranking using random items relevant to the movie: 1.5 out of 5 crystal skulls.

Click to enlarge

Slogan : “Change can be scary.”

Best Tagline: “But not as scary as those Amazon Prime fees.”

Not-so-brief plot synopsis: On the eve of Hotel Transylvania’s 125th anniversary, Count Dracula (Brian Hull) is about to announce his intention to retire and leave the hotel to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband. Johnny (Andy Samberg). One problem: Johnny is human, and somewhat silly. Drac subsequently delays his retirement and Johnny, blaming himself, uses Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) “Monsterification Ray” to transform into a monster. Unfortunately, the ray accidentally turns Drac – and many of his friends – human.

“Critical analysis: Adam Sandler, who voiced the character of Drac in the first three Hotel Transylvania, is somewhat famous for making films that primarily serve as vacations for him and his friends. So it doesn’t bode well that even he didn’t bother to call during a performance to Transformanie, a film that would have required a few weeks of gaffes in a studio in pajamas.

“Phone,” unfortunately, pretty much describes the entire production. Like Sandler, director Genndy Tartakovsky bailed out, handing over duties to Jennifer Kluska and Derek Drymon. He still has credit for screenwriting and “story by,” both of which are charitable descriptions for an end product that feels like the movie equivalent of spending an all-nighter finishing a research paper you should have started six weeks ago.

The only thing that holds up from a distance is the animation, which is the same fun, over-the-top Tex Avery style that sometimes distracts you from [waves hands] everything else. It was also used to great effect by Tartakovsky in Dexter’s Laboratory.

And if that’s your thing, there are Easter eggs strewn about, many due to the franchise’s connection to the universal monster pantheon (there may have been a Prestige tank in Van Helsing’s laboratory). The human versions of the main cast are also intermittently fun, with most of the laughs coming from how the now visible Man (David Spade) looks like a naked Larry from The Three Stooges, or the newly handsome Frank (Brad Abrell)’s obsession with his looks.

Frank, of course, was voiced by Kevin James. Always Sandler’s faithful lapdog, James also made his head out of Transformanie.

On that note, you have to ask yourself: why not everyone? A lingering problem in studio animation is how it continues to insist on using marquee talent instead of mostly voice actors. There’s absolutely no reason Kathryn Hahn, Steve Buscemi, or Selena Gomez should be in there, because there’s nothing distinctive enough about their characters to utilize specific vocal qualities.

It’s double for Andy Samberg. His Johnny is, in short, fucking unbearable. the SNL/Brooklyn 99 alum is definitely a good comedic actor when he wants to be, but every moment Johnny is on screen, you just want Drac to rip his throat out and be done with it.

But that would be detrimental to Drac coming to appreciate his son-in-law’s rough diamond, a process facilitated by his people… transformation. None of this is groundbreaking, and it’s not meant to be, but to paraphrase Rick from casablanca, I don’t mind having money, I object to a cheap one. HT: T silliness and predictability would be nice if it didn’t seem so lazy.

Ask a 12-year-old child:
RFTED: Any ideas?
Age 12: I’m just glad Blobby is okay.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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