Review: ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’: Hardly groundbreaking but a fun film (Rating: ***)
By Troy Ribeiro
Film: ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’ (Streaming on Amazon Prime)
Duration: 88 minutes
Directors: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Voice Cast: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Brian Hull, Fran Drescher
Like the earlier three films of the franchise, ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’ too, is hardly groundbreaking, but with its kinetic sense of energy and heart in its right place, the film is fun to watch.
This edition too is about Dracula trying to keep a secret from his beloved daughter Mavis and for some reason or another, he has to dig himself out of trouble.
The film begins with Dracula (Brian Hull) celebrating his hotel’s 125th anniversary. Now intending to settle down with his new love Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), he announces his retirement plans, that is, to hand over the hotel business to his beloved daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her annoyingly over-enthusiastic human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg).
But as he reflects on his decision, he realises that he does not trust Johnny with the hotel for the monsters. So he decides that he can’t relinquish the hotel, which he lovingly built and spent all these years running it, to his irritating “human” son-in-law.
When Johnny learns why Dracula will never accept him, he goes over to Professor Van Helsing, who has a magical gem-studded gun with a request to turn him into a Monster. Dracula too lands there at the same time, and in the ensuing chaos, Johnny is turned into an enormous dragon, and all the monsters, including Dracula, are turned into humans. Now with roles reversed, how they team up and race across the globe to restore normalcy in their lives forms the crux of this crazy tale.
Those familiar with the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ series will find the narrative a bit of a drab. Nevertheless, it is fun to watch Johnny gradually discover his monster powers and Dracula – his human limitations. Also, there are plenty of impressive gags to entertain and keep you glued to the screen.
In this edition, Brian Hull lends his voice to Dracula, and he does a fantastic job of it after replacing Adam Sandler, who had lent his voice for the same character previously.
Andy Samberg as Jonathan, Kevin James as the selfie-taking narcissist Frankenstein, David Spade as the naked Invisible Man, Selena Gomez as Mavis, and Kathryn Hahn as Ericka are all impressive with their stellar voices that match the characters to perfection.
Overall, ‘Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’ in its entirety is a feel-good film with its cartoony style and exaggerated elastic character animation.
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