Review by John P Harvey
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), with help from his young (120-odd-year-old) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband Johnny, has run a monsters’ home-away-from-home hotel since 1895 but without romance and without a break and has thus reached a low point.
Mavis thoughtfully finds a restorative for him in the form of an ocean cruise for monsters, and they and assorted other ghouls embark on the time of their lives — the scariest time of their lives: their arch-nemesis, Van Helsing, now mostly made of prosthetics, has plans of his own for them.
And, as if that weren’t scary enough, there is their plane journey to the ship’s departure port: a whacky ride piloted by carefree gremlins (evidently on loan from Steven Spielberg) that repays close attention. It’s a hoot.
Without compromising on their entertainicity to adults, the wholly animated Hotel Transylvania series takes the trouble to consider its primary audience; children. This third instalment is notable in its considered treatment of several themes that emerge through character and plot development, leading to original approaches to sexual attraction and love, xenophobia and conflict, and frustration and fulfilment.
This thoughtful approach to adventures in interspecies relationships, which makes the film strangely educational (though subtly so), leaves the viewer untroubled by conflicts between principles and practice, between means and ends, that blemish screenplays created with less attention to the lines between the lines.
The movies is fast-paced without being overwhelming; there’s plenty of incidental physical comedy, some illustrating the best and the worst of travelling on cruise ships; and a dynamic score by Mark Mothersbaugh is interspersed with great use of modern music that advances the plot by its psychological effect on the movie’s scariest character.
Great fun; don’t miss it.