Hotel Transylvania Transformania review: Did we really need a fourth film in a mediocre franchise?

  • Hotel Transylvania Transformania review: The fourth and final instalment of the series is a boring, dull affair that is the weakest film of an already weak franchise.
Hotel Transylvania Transformania review: Dracula (Brian Hull) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) in the film.
Hotel Transylvania Transformania review: Dracula (Brian Hull) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) in the film.
Updated on Jan 16, 2022 07:21 PM IST
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ByAbhimanyu Mathur

Let's face it. The Hotel Transylvannia series was never Shrek or Ice Age. It had half decent films, propped up by some amazing inventive animation and direction from a master - Genndy Tartakovsky. The star power of Adam Sandler helped as well. The fourth and final instalment of the series - Hotel Transylvania: Transformania - lacks both of these. And that, along with some unimaginative writing, makes the film the worst chapter of an already mediocre franchise.

The film series follows an overprotective Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler in the first three films and Brian Hull in this one) as he tries to keep his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) away from the human world. But Mavis ends up falling in love with a human named Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) and hilarity ensures.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania flips the premise of the film series as it sees Johnny turn into a monster and Dracula transform into a mortal human. The two then need to travel to the Amazon to reverse this transformation. The monsters are now humans and the humans are monsters. The film aims to teach empathy by literally taking characters into the bodies of the people they despise. But it does so with the subtlety and finesse of a sledgehammer.

Even though the Hotel Transylvania series has never aimed to be anything more than appealing to kids, the fourth instalment falls short of that too. The jokes are silly but not funny, the story is simple but too predictable, and the animation lacks the inventiveness that Genndy Tartakovsky brought. It is not hard to see why Adam Sandler refused to return for this, and as per reports even Selena wasn't keen too. Having watched the film, I don't blame them.

The film was originally supposed to release in the theatres but the release date kept getting postponed until Sony decided to sell the rights to Amazon Prime Video, where it eventually began streaming this Friday. Perhaps the best part about this movie is that it is not in theatres because nobody should have to pay to watch it. The most it deserves is playing in the background of your work from home routine as the kids mildly chuckle every five minutes or so.

So what exactly is wrong with the film, you ask. The story is dull for starters. The transformation of Dracula from the obnoxious slightly xenophobic monster to the warm, accepting chap is unbelievable and drastic. The jokes are repetitive and get progressively unfunny as you find yourself regressing from chuckle to smirk gradually.

With new directors and some of the voice actors replaced, the film fails to match up to its prequels.
With new directors and some of the voice actors replaced, the film fails to match up to its prequels.

Given the story moves from the titular hotel to exotic locales like the Amazon, there was scope for the animation to dazzle us but it fails to. The missing touch of Genndy (who is not present as director but only as writer and executive producer) is clearly visible.

The voice performances are bored, if not boring. Selena Gomez sounds like someone focused on getting it over with as do most of the supporting cast. Adam Samberg isn't anywhere near his best and yet he is the star of the show here. Brian Hull has the unenviable job of replacing the film's star and he does it decently. Kids may not even realise that it's a different voice actor this time. But his delivery oscillates between an original take and an Adam Sandler impersonation.

Also read: Abandon ship! Hotel Transylvania 3 review by Rashid Irani

The Hotel Transylvania series always looked like a faded copy of some of the other successful animation franchises out there. This fourth part seems like a caricature of that faded copy - completely unnecessary and eminently avoidable. Since Sony has already said there won't be a fifth part, I hope Genndy Tartakovsky uses that time to do something fans actually want - like a reboot of Dexter's Laboratory or a re-reboot of Samurai Jack.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Movie: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Director: Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska

Cast: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Brian Hull, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi

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Monday, June 27, 2022