After having its theatrical release bounced around for a few months, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania finally landed a home on Amazon Prime Video. But is this fourth film in Sony Picture Animation’s beloved monster franchise worth the wait?
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania follows Dracula (Brian Hull) as he’s ready to hand the keys of his famous Hotel Transylvania over to his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). However, when Mavis’s husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) overhears Dracula’s plans and mistakenly thinks that Dracula is giving the hotel to him, Dracula backpeddles. Thinking that he’ll be able to inherit the hotel if he’s a monster, Johnny enlists the help of former monster hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) to turn him into a monster, which accidentally turns Dracula into a human in the process. Now Dracula and Johnny have to team up to turn each other back before they both lose Mavis forever.
This series continues to (smartly) focus on Dracula’s relationship with his Mavis, which is the strongest aspect of the series. Drac’s inability have a tough conversation with Johnny ends up causing major conflict with Mavis, springing the plot into action. As a result, Johnny and Drac spend a good chunk of time adventuring together in their newfound monster and human bodies, which leads to a lot of fun moments such as Dracula experiencing the sun for the first time. However, at the end of all of it, it didn’t feel like their relationship grew that much to warrant any pay off.
Since the film (and series) hinges so much on Dracula, it’s worth noting that newcomer Brian Hull does a wonderful job as Dracula. Taking over a role from such a comedic legend as Adam Sandler can be daunting and big shoes to fill, but Hull hops in and delivers a Sandler-worthy performance. If you didn’t know Sandler had left the series and was replaced, you’d never know and that’s the best compliment Hull could receive.
When you’re on the fourth film in a series, the introduction of new characters each film can be overwhelming and unsatisfying as there isn’t enough time to focus on them all. However, one thing that Hotel Transylvania: Transformania does right is that there are no new characters, which instead allows us to focus on the cast we already know and love, from Dracula and Mavis to Ericka and the Drac Pack. Speaking of which, the antics of Wayne, Griffin, Murray, and Frankenstein are one of the biggest highlights of the film and something we would have missed out if a slew of new characters were also clamoring for the spotlight.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is harmless monster fun that the whole family will enjoy. The jokes are fine, the characters are still great, and the plot never lags. But in the end, it still feels like an extended episode of a TV show rather than a feature-length film worth paying for. But as the final chapter in the Hotel Transylvania, it wraps everything up just fine.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is available now and exclusively streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.