Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation expands animated Drac’s lore with more frivolous, monster-filled fun: this time aboard a cruise ship. There’s a bit of role reversal in play as Mavis becomes the overprotective parent in the family, first planning a surprise trip when she believes her dad is too stressed (in reality, he’s lonely) and then doing everything in her power to stop him hooking up with the ship’s foxy Captain (who also happens to be a Van Helsing descendant). Poor Drac wants to spend time with his family, but he also zings when he sees the Captain, so he finds himself living a double life, which seems much more stressful than his day-to-day gig at the hotel.
But the gang’s all here, and the creative team behind Hotel Transylvania 3 knows how to pull laughs and fun out of this concept, for parents and kids alike. In addition to the usual visual gags that come with the monster territory and the tried-and-true “blah, blah, blah” jokes, the new installment brings in a massive pug-like puppy for added chaos (he’s wonderful) and has the benefit of vampire dating missteps for a bit of new flavor. A sequence involving a candle-lit dinner and heavy-on-the-garlic guacamole earned a riotous response from the Dracula-loving audience. A brilliant and wry Chupacabra joke tickled only a precious few funny bones, but it’s that balance that has long kept the Hotel Transylvania franchise enjoyable for all ages.
It seems certain the pictures will keep coming, and as long as they stay sharp and sweet, this critic, at least, will keep watching.