‘Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation’ review: Visually hyperactive but bland getaway

Genndy Tartakovsky’s ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation’ falls within the Looney Tunes brand of entertainment – extremely fun, but only for kids ages 12 and below.

At this point, it’s hardly a surprise that one of Sony’s biggest cash cows, Hotel Transylvania, breaks into the elite status of animation and earns itself a threequel. The studio breathes life into the franchise by taking the crew out of the hotel for a summer vacation… in the Bermuda Triangle, no less. The idea itself could be a riff from Sandler’s vacation-themed classics or one of those sitcom filler episodes, so one can expect the common denominator – it’s funny at the moment but completely dispensable in the long run.

The organizer of the said Atlantic cruise getaway is Mavis (Selena Gomez) as she feels that her dad Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) seems to be stressed from his hotel duties and therefore, must be badly needing a break. But the real reason for Drac’s loneliness is that he’s been single for decades now and he’s hoping for the ‘zing’ that he once had with his deceased wife. In case you missed it, a ‘zing’ is what we call ‘love at first sight’ for us humans, only it’s irrefutably claimed as ‘true love’ for monsters.

If in the first film, Drac disapproves of her daughter Mavis’ relationship with her soon-to-be human husband Jonathan (Andy Samberg), the roles are reversed here as Mavis senses that there’s something wrong with his dad’s new ‘zing’ – cruise captain Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn). She’s right. It does not take a genius to deduce that with a surname like that, Ericka must come from a bloodline of monster hunters.

Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) instantly zings for cruise captain Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn). Photo via Sony Pictures Animation.

True enough, Ericka spends most of the film faking her affections for him when in reality, she’s plotting to kill him. There’s an elaborately choreographed scene where Drac and his green blob friend performs a 24K Magic dance routine, oblivious to the fact that Ericka has been trying to kill him. It’s an old trick borrowed from the Looney Tunes book but it’s still amusing nonetheless.

But then Hotel Transylvania 3 in its entirety, is mostly a succession of visual gags from thankless supporting characters who contribute little to plot development. Nor do they barely get a decent subplot at the very least. Werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and his wife (Molly Shannon) enjoys a time off from baby-sitting their chaotic litter, Frankenstein (Kevin James) does some gambling, Murray the Mummy (Keegan Michael-Key) and Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade) act as Drac’s wingmen, and so on. Most of the gags here play on the notion that these monsters engage in human activities too, but in their own monstrous way. It quickly runs dry and feels repetitive since these are already shown in previous installments. Three films in, but the franchise still wastes the potential to harvest other stories from its wide array of cast.

This still means good news for the younger generation as reprising director and co-writer Genndy Tartakovsky bombards the kids with sensory overload to glue their attention to the screen. His direction spews of visual creativeness – not in a game-changing, world-building sense, but enough to occasionally mask how uninspired the story actually is. By the time it reaches the climax, the film showcases a hyperactive DJ/dance battle featuring a singing Kraken (Joe Jonas). It quickly gets too loud and annoying and before adults completely walk out of the theater, the song Macarena is played as a peace offering. The film’s zaniness has reached a new level yet considering the whole franchise is founded on absurdity itself, I’m giving it a pass.

The hotel crew takes on an adventure in the Atlantic. Photo via Sony Pictures Animation.

Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation gives too much where it needed less and feels lacking where it needed more. The father-daughter dynamic which has been the strongest emotional core of Transylvania franchise is underserved in favor of an uncompelling romantic subplot. There’s a harmless message of embracing diversity that gets lost in the noise of visual gags. How can something so elaborate feel so dull?

Kids will always go for the familiar faces, regardless if the film keeps on recycling jokes. Not the same for the rest of the general audience though.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, written by Michael McCullers and Genndy Tartakovsky
Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Mel Brooks, Asher Blinkoff, Sadie Sandler, Genndy Tartakovsky, Chrissy Teigen, Joe Jonas, Alison Hammond, Chris Parnell, Joe Whyte
Run time: 97 minutes

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ earns P82.7-M in 5 days, biggest opening in PH for a foreign rom-com

The Philippine box-office laid out the red carpet for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Crazy Rich Asians” as Filipino movie fans rushed to the cinemas and gave the romantic comedy a record-breaking P82.7-M gross in five days, victoriously opening at No.1.

This was announced today by Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines.

The contemporary love story based on the global bestseller by Kevin Kwan broke two box-office records, namely the All-Time Biggest Opening Weekend for a Foreign Romantic Comedy (surpassing 2002’s “Maid in Manhattan” with P24-M), and the Biggest Opening of the Year for a Warner Bros. Title (outgrossing “The Meg” with P63.4-M).

The most talked-about film in the country for the past several weeks, “Crazy Rich Asians” rode a tidal wave of goodwill and positive anticipation from fans, resulting to Warner’s biggest opening weekend of the year, as well as the biggest opening weekend for a romantic comedy.

Reviews for the Jon M. Chu were phenomenal and audiences have been spreading emotional word-of-mouth which has been key in getting a broader audience in.

The inclusion of Filipino actress Kris Aquino and US-based Pinoy comedian Nico Santos to the film’s cast also drove upbeat interest and curiosity. And based on post-screening reactions, both stars did their countrymen proud.

In North America, “Crazy Rich Asians” had a crazy good second weekend at the box office.

Warner Bros. acclaimed romantic comedy generated another $25 million in 3,526 locations, meaning it made almost as much during its second outing as it did its first weekend. Jon M. Chu’s movie, which has been lauded as the first studio film in over 25 years with a predominately Asian-American cast, dropped just 6% — marking one of the best holds in recent history for a wide release in any genre. In two weeks, its domestic total sits at $76.8 million.

Rated PG by the MTRCB, “Crazy Rich Asians” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.

About “Crazy Rich Asians”

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a contemporary romantic comedy based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.

The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim.

It soon becomes clear that the only thing crazier than love is family, in this funny and romantic story sure to ring true for audiences everywhere.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” features an international cast of stars, led by Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, and Awkwafina, with Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh. The large starring ensemble also includes Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Remi Hii, and Nico Santos.

Pinoy version of ‘Miss Granny’ sets record as highest single-day gross for a local film in 2018

Viva Films has just announced that the Philippine adaptation of the hit South Korean film “Miss Granny” has set a new record as the highest single day gross for a local movie released in the Philippines in 2018.

The 21-million peso gross this Sunday, August 26, is a record-breaking feat for this movie about a grandmother (played by Ms. Nova Villa) who regains her youthful appearance (as Sarah Geronimo).

“Miss Granny” has breached 57-million pesos as gross sales in its opening weekend with strong ticket sales breaching the 57-million peso mark.

Directed by Joyce Bernal, and co-produced by Viva Films and N2 Productions, the Pinoy remake of “Miss Granny” also stars James Reid and Xian Lim.

Find out in cinemas nationwide why more and more people are raving about Sarah Geronimo’s superb performance in the certified blockbuster hit, “Miss Granny.”

Joe Jonas voices ‘Kraken’ in ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation’

Pop superstar Joe Jonas lends his voice to The Kraken in Columbia Pictures’ adventure comedy Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation.

Kraken is the ginormous beast who welcomes Drac and his friends to the lost city of Atlantis, the monster version of Las Vegas. He may look threatening, he is full of charm and a heck of a singer – he loves to carry a tune!

In the film, the monsters vacation’s final destination is the lost city of Atlantis. “It’s our version of Vegas,” says producer Michelle Murdocca. “From the depths of the ocean arises a massive kraken – and just when you think this is it, he breaks into a swing-a-ding-ding Sinatraesque song, courtesy of Joe Jonas.”

The kraken may look tough but underneath it all is the heart of a performer, so there’s no one better to welcome the monster cruise to Atlantis that him. “He’s got a crooner vibe,” says Joe Jonas. “The song `Party Time’ was a lot of fun to record – it’s a big swing routine.”

And when he needed a big band swing number, Jonas knew who to call. “I reached out to my friend David Foster, who happened to be working with Michael Bublé at the time,” says Jonas. A short while later, he got a call back. Foster and Bublé had written the song in a burst of inspiration and with Jonas’ voice in mind.

Now showing across Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Kraken (Joe Jonas) in Sony Pictures Animation’s HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION.
About Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation

In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation, join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

Sony Pictures Animation presents Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation. Featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Joe Jonas, Chrissy Teigen, Jaime Camil, and Mel Brooks. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Produced by Michelle Murdocca. Written by Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh. Imagery and Animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.