The antics of a non-scary Count Dracula and his even less spooky monster pals fuelled two installments of Hotel Transylvania. The third film, Summer Vacation, also directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, has the same expert animation, but much less imagination in terms of plot or character development. The franchise was meant for kids, but the age of the target audience seems to have been lowered further.
Drac (voiced by Adam Sandler) is moping around, lonely and loveless, when his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) — the one who married a Human called Johnny (Andy Samberg) in the earlier film — suggests that he needs a change from running their hotel. So she plans a summer vacation on a cruise, with husband and brat Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) and his monster buddies for company — Frankenstein (Kevin James), Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) and Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade). Dennis manages to sneak in his giant dog, the slobbering Tinkles, who is quite a handful.
The ship is headed for the Bermuda Triangle and the no longer lost city of Atlantis. Drac has one look at the Human, Captain Erica (Kathryn Hahn), and feels the zing — the monster equivalent of romantic passion. What he doesn’t know is that she is the great grand-daughter of monster-buster Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) — introduced in a brief prologue. He lives on as part human, part machine and wants nothing more than the death of Dracula.
So Drac acts like a silly teen in love and breaks into gibberish when Erika stands before him, while she sneakily adds garlic to his food. The animated monsters are colourful and energetic; there are a few remarkable set pieces (and one delightfully retro dance number), but also long portions that drag. Hotel Transylvania 3 has enough sight gags, but lacks the verbal wit that would have made it worthwhile for grown-ups accompanying fan kids.