This week I saw Hotel Transylvania 3. Not just a sequel but the third in a series, so there was every chance this film would suck. Still, the Hotel Transylvania franchise isn’t out of steam yet – it gets me right where I live with its bright colors and visually memorable characters, I was going to like it regardless of how good or bad it was. A lot of people felt the same way, I think; the theater was packed with moms and kids.
While on a vacation with his family, Count Dracula makes a romantic connection.
Man Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation looked so good from beginning to end, the character design, the settings, the color palette. Every frame was gorgeous. A friend of mine assures me it’s hard to work with with saturated color and still make it look good. HT3:SV managed, it looked looked it was made of candy and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It sounded good too, the voice acting (as with the others before it) was solidly cast: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, David Spade… so many amazing people.
This movie is perfectly written and paced. By that I mean it follows the Sid Field model exactly, classic 3 act structure. We know what the character’s goals are and why. We see the opposition at work in exactly the right parts. There’s a memorable scene at the midpoint and a dark point right at the end of act II. Sure the characters were a little simplistic but this is a kid’s show. Simplistic works. Kids shows (and this one definitely counts) are the most forgiving of all the genres. It would be easy to skimp on the writing and still make money, several have. But not this one. Solid writing pays off.
HT3: SV tried to be funny the whole time. I didn’t laugh many of these but judging from all the kid laughter in the packed theatre, they were hilarious. Clearly I was not the demographic here. That’s not to say I didn’t laugh, though. I certainly did but it was because of some of their artistic choices that were absolutely magnificently whacky. One character’s design (near the beginning) was so brilliant I giggled the entire time he was onscreen. Couldn’t find a good picture of him to share here though but he was voiced by Jim Gaffigan and was worth the price of admission.
So is Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation worth watching? Heck yes, especially if you’re under 10 years old because it is, apparently, a laugh riot. But it’s fun for the older kids as well. I had a blast. Apparently the director, Genndy Tartakovsky did Samarai Jack? I’m going to have to check that out as well.