Listen, sometimes I really do try to give other animation studios a chance. Disney and Pixar are the giants, with Studio Ghibli (and arguably now Cartoon Saloon) rounding up the best of the best in my opinion. Everyone knows that Dreamworks are hit and miss, and now sadly I have to say that so are Sony. I was actually quite a big fan of the first two Hotel Transylvania films with their bright imagery and smart jokes, but now – in the absence of Adam Sandler – they seem to have missed the mark yet again.
You heard correctly: there’s no Sandler as Drac in this film. Why? Well, the consensus is that he’s jumped ship to Netflix nowadays, and prefers to make movies for them instead of Sony. In Transformania, the plot focuses once again on Dracula, who takes it upon himself to save the day. Mad scientist Van Helsing has invented a device that turns monsters into humans and vice versa, but when the “Monsterfication Ray” gets damaged, Drac must travel to the caves of South America to retrieve a new powerful crystal to operate it and turn his family and friends back to their normal selves.
Yeah it’s not quite as good without Adam Sandler, is it?
Not only is his shine missing, but unfortunately the writers made a mistake here. It’s a shame that the writers chose to focus on Dracula so much even without Sandler voicing him. Drac is a much less funny character when he’s not Adam Sandler, and the supporting cast are actually where it’s at. I kind of wish we could have hung around with Steve Buscemi, David Spade and the others more because they’re still full of charm and comedic timing here, and a story about them alone would have been much more watchable.
Aside from Sandlergate, in terms of this fourth(!) Hotel Transylvania movie’s concept, it’s actually a pretty fun one. Seeing all of the monsters turn into humans was especially funny to watch, even if my beloved Blobby was reduced to nothing but a plate of jelly as a result of it. Sadly, the plot itself is just kind of a mess. Not only that, but it’s often tedious, and I never felt that way about any of the previous movies. Not even the third one. Transformania is definitely one for the “for kids” category.
Okay, so it’s not all bad. Visually, I really loved some of the angles used here; several distinctly creative decisions were made in that regard, and the angles alone made some sequences way funnier and more original than they would have been without them. Other aesthetic choices were… not quite so great. Some of the animation looked downright cheap and half-finished, if I’m honest. Like why did monster Johnny look so two dimensional? It all just seems so rushed and it’s simply disappointing.
After this, I think it’s safe to say that we don’t need any more Hotel Transylvania. Whilst it’s a short and snappy 88 minutes (which is not to be scoffed at), I have no plans to rewatch this ever again. In fact, I’ll have forgotten all about it in an hour.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
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