Legendary animator Genndy Tartakovsky returns for a third time to bring us the further adventures of Dracula and his growing family. Although he’s often spoken about stepping away from the series, we should be thankful he’s stayed onboard because it’s his involvement that keeps this amiably undemanding series from sliding inexorably towards mediocrity.
Mistaking her father’s loneliness for stress from overwork, Mavis (Selena Gomez) decides to surprise him with a luxury holiday cruise from the Bermuda Triangle to the lost city of Atlantis. Dracula (Adam Sandler) is horrified at the idea until he boards the vessel and unexpectedly zings with the ship’s captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). There’s only one problem: Ericka is the direct descendant of Van Helsing and is plotting to destroy all the monsters.
It used to be a well-worn convention for sit-coms of the sixties and seventies to eventually produce a movie spin-off and that movie spin-off, more often than not, saw the gang going off on holiday, delivering hijinks through putting the familiar characters in an unfamiliar setting and seeing how they get on. “Hotel Transylvania” has deep roots in the sitcom genre, especially in many nods to “The Addams Family” and, especially, “The Munsters” and there’s undeniable fun in seeing the whole gang get to grips with life on board ship – even if there are so many members of the gang now they’ve become unwieldy to the point of hardly anyone getting enough time in the spotlight.
Still, the jokes pile up thick and fast, more often than not hitting the funny bone and, thanks to Tartakovsky, the visuals are always appealing and, occasionally, downright stunning. Overall it feels a bit thinner and its edge a little duller than previous instalments but its still more than enough to keep you and your own little monsters happy, especially with the ruthless deployment of the Macarena in a dance-fuelled finale which had the littlest Craggling and her friend literally dancing in the aisles (in a respectful of other cinema patrons way, of course).