July 13, 2018: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Movie Review

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A Brief History

On July 13, 2018, probably not coincidentally Friday the 13th, the new blockbuster animated film Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, opens at theaters across the United States. If you and your family are in the mood for even more of the animated monsters and the fun they generate, then this third installment of the Adam Sandler as Dracula franchise is for you. Featuring the same characters as the first two films and the same wonderful voice cast, the movie is sure to keep the family interested with colorful scenes and jokes galore.

Digging Deeper

Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, and Mel Brooks will be familiar to fans of the Hotel Transylvania audience, with the addition of excellent voice acting stars Jim Gaffigan and Kathryn Hahn. The film is set chronologically after the first 2 films, this time with the Dracula led bunch going on a cruise for vacation. The stage is set with a train scene in 1897 where Dracula and his friends and family (monsters of various sorts) are traveling incognito as regular people when they are attacked by famed monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan). Jump forward to the present, and the Hotel Transylvania crew is on a cruise to have a vacation instead of hosting others on their vacations. The crew is having fun when Dracula meets the pretty Captain of the ship, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) and a budding romance develops. Lo and behold, the Captain is really the great granddaughter of monster hunter par excellence Abraham Van Helsing and she is conspiring with the now semi-robotic old man to take down Dracula and his clan. Mavis (Selena Gomez), the comely daughter of Dracula tries to warn her smitten father against the danger that Ericka poses.

Okay, enough with the plot! We do not like to spoil the movie for you, but now you know enough to get the gist of what is happening in the film. Funny visuals and lines abound, and the movie is crisp, clear, and colorful, and perhaps more importantly the action moves along quickly enough to keep younger movie fans interested. The kids in the audience with us at a pre-screening sure seemed to like the film! What did they like the best? Almost assuredly the passing of flatus humor. (Those unfamiliar with anatomical terms could look this up.) With a running time of 97 minutes, the movie is long enough not to be too brief and short enough not to test grandpa’s bladder holding ability (while the grandkids enjoy the film).

Aside from Dracula character, we also get an older vampire named Vlad (Mel Brooks), a Frankenstein monster (Kevin James), a werewolf (Steve Buscemi), an invisible man (no, not Mike Pence, but rather David Spade), the wives of Frankenstein and the Werewolf (Fran Drescher and Molly Shannon), a Mummy (Kegan-Michael Key) and a human husband for Mavis (Andy Samberg). Of course, there are even more funny characters, all played brilliantly by appropriate voice actors. An $80 million budget is an indication that this big screen cartoon is a top notch production, sure to please fans of the movie franchise. While it is true this film is the third in a series, we think that any new audience members watching Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation without having seen the first 2 films will be completely able to enjoy the film as a stand alone experience. While it is fun to follow the beloved characters from film to film, do not hesitate to watch this movie if you have not seen the other 2 Hotel Transylvania movies.

We recommend you enjoy your Friday the 13th by watching Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation with your family. Enjoy!

Theatrical release poster

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Landis, John. Monsters in the Movies.  DK, 2016.

Schuman, Michael. Adam Sandler: Celebrity With Heart.  Enslow Pub Inc, 2010.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.