HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA (AMAZON PRIME) 2022)
SYNOPSIS: The 4th installment of the franchise, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania dives into the relationship between Dracula and his goofy, human son-in-law Johnny (Samberg). As Dracula plans to retire and gift his beloved Hotel Transylvania to his daughter Mavis (Gomez), he changes his mind at the last minute -worried that Johnny will ruin what he has built. Disappointed that Dracula still doesn’t embrace Johnny as a member of his family, Johnny seeks help from Van Helsing (from third film) and successfully turns himself into a monster. In the wake of transforming himself, however, Johnny changes Dracula and his band of monster side-kicks –Blobby, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wayne, and the Invisible Man – into humans. Dracula and Johnny set out together to find a secret crystal that will help turn them back accordingly, while learning to rely on and appreciate each other along the way.
Three prominent names are missing in this so called last entry in the Hotel Transylvania series. First is Adam Sandler who voices Dracula, second being Kevin James who voices Frankenstein. Last being series’ director Genny Tartakovsky who only retained a story credit here.
Although frankly speaking, you won’t be able to tell a difference if you put all four side by side. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is as silly as its predecessors and a good enough flick to keep the young ones occupied for a slim 88 minutes.
On the 125th anniversary celebration of Hotel Transylvania, Dracula (Youtuber turns voiceover artiste Brian Hull) is planning to announce his retirement, leaving the hotel to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and human hubby, Jonathan (Andy Samberg). However, the ever perfectionist Dracula is worried that Jonathan might ruined the running of hotel that he came up with a lie that non-monsters are not allowed to inherit the hotel. Jonathan feeling disappointed approached Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) to turn him into a monster by using a crystal ray gun.
In the tradition of monster misfit, Jonathan is turned into a green dragon while Dracula and his buddies are turned into humans! The only solution it seems is to travel to South America in search of a mysterious crystal to revert them to their original selves or risk Jonathan being mutated into a mindless beast.
The screenplay by Amos Vernon, Nunzio Randazoo and Genny Tartakovsky stays pretty close to the repetitive theme of an overprotective father trying to deal with the future of his precious daughter, only this time it’s more about his overly enthusiastic son-in-law. The animation indeed takes a while to warm up before setting up the disastrous experiment which goes wrong with the obvious funniest gag involving Frankenstein being turned into a selfie-loving macho man and the invisible man (David Spade) turning visible.
Most evidently, majority of the flick focused on the relationship between Dracula and Jonathan as they trek arduously all over the South American rainforest. Of course, there are a few laugh-out-loud gags splattered all over and a nice meaningful message hidden in a burnt marshmallow of all things. The rest of the monsters kind of take a back seat as usual with the occasional silly laughs courtesy of Frankenstein and Blobby as they joined Mavis and Erika (Kathryn Hahn) in their quest to find Dracula and Jonathan.
At this point, you should know that the Hotel Transylvania franchise is definitely not in the league of the average Pixar and Disney animations. Transformania retains the trademark slapstick and crude gags that Sandler and his Happy Madison gang normally concocted despite the very fact that the renowned comedian is missing here.
Review by Linus Tee