Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation (4 stars)

Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation

This enjoyable daft entry means third time's the charm for the animated franchise

As with the Madagascar trilogy of animated frolics, the third outing proves the charm for director Genndy Tartakovsky's Hotel Transylvania franchise (the creation of comedy writer Todd Durham); this latest tale of Count Dracula and his daughter drops the parental-control plotting in favour of a loose holiday theme, delivering a torrent of pleasingly goofy gags.

After an 1897 prologue establishing bad blood between Dracula (voiced once again by Adam Sandler) and Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), Tartakovsky's film picks up with the family of monsters as they set out on a cruise-liner in the Bermuda Triangle. The relationship between his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) presents no further conflicts, so attention falls on Dracula's own lack of a romantic interest. The ship's personable captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) fits the bill but, although Dracula instantly falls for her, Ericka's hidden motivations force him to reluctantly resume battle with his oldest foe.

For the first time, the Hotel Transylvania series hits some comedy heights with its enjoyably daft notions: riffing on the old Twilight Zone episode 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet', the monsters travel in a plane not haunted by a single crazy gremlin, but piloted and stewarded by even crazier gremlins. Even better is a brief musical interlude with singing fish entertaining the ship's passengers with a cleaned-up version of funky moped song 'Downtown' by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Such delirious details make the running time fly by, while the animation rises to the task, delivering size and scale to a musical face-off with the monster's monster, the mighty Krakken of Atlantis.

Without any of the highbrow trimmings of a Pixar movie, A Monster Vacation is all an animation needs to be: fast, funny and good-humoured. It's hard not to smile at inspired sight-gags like Dracula's skeletal dad (Mel Brooks) playing shuffleboard over the chalk outline of a body.

General release from Fri 27 Jul.

Hotel Transylvania 3

  • 4 stars
  • 2018
  • 1h 37min
  • U
  • Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Kathryn Hahn, Andy Samberg
  • UK release: 27 July 2018

Third instalment of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, which sees daughter Mavis (Gomez) take on the role of overbearing parent when her father Dracula (Sandler) falls for the ship's captain Ericka (Hahn) whilst on a monsters-only cruise. A funny and good-humoured flick, with plenty of goofy gags and musical numbers…