HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA (2022)
Featuring the voices of Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Brian Hull, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff, Zoe Berri, Asher Bishop, Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Genndy Tartakovsky, Victoria Gomez, Jennifer Kluska, Derek Drymon and Aaron LaPlante.
Screenplay by Amos Vernon & Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky.
Directed by Jennifer Kluska and Derek Drymon.
Distributed by Amazon Studios. 98 minutes. Rated PG.
If you ever wonder why so many kids these days are kind of obnoxious and often seem to have ADHD, maybe you can look at growing up with hyperactive “kids” movies like the Hotel Transylvania series.
I’m not blaming Hotel Transylvania for causing this trend in children’s entertainment. It was going on long before this series started and will continue long after it is done, which seems to be after this fourth film in the franchise. Hotel Transylvania is a symptom of the problem, not the cause.
The Hotel Transylvania films are constantly after the sugar high of goofball wild action and insufferably over-caffeinated characters. It literally bounces off the walls trying to get (and keep) the attention of a sensation craving audience which is always looking for the next big thing, the next big rush, the next big dumb joke, the next big anti-social tantrum, the next big sick burn.
I’m not going to lie – I have never seen the first three films in this series. So, maybe, there was something a little more subtle going on there. Oh, who am I kidding? They were three animated films with Adam Sandler voicing the lead character. Subtlety is off the table.
Sandler did not stick around to play Drac for Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, nor did his buddy Kevin James return to play Frank, the Frankenstein monster character. Sandler’s lead role is taken on by YouTube phenom Brian Hull, and he handles the role perfectly well – at least considering what he is given to do. (Despite the fact that Drac is the main character here, Hull is listed tenth in the credits, under several actors who had significantly smaller supporting roles.)
However, other than Sandler and James (who is replaced by Brad Abrell), the rest of the star-studded voice cast is back and accounted for and ready and willing to toss their animated bodies into all the frenetic mayhem.
Transformania is visually stunning, eye candy, all constant swirling motion, exaggerated characters and vibrant colors – and yet it is at the same time oddly lifeless. For as much as is going on here, not much is going on here – if you take my meaning.
Perhaps it’s even unfair for me to expect more from a film that has nothing on its mind other than being a goofy blast for little kids. However, it is possible to make a family film that the actual family will enjoy – not just the smallest, most immature viewers. Sitting through Transformania made me – as an adult single viewer – just feel a little anxious and a little bored.
And I have always loved monster movies – even ones for kids. (Scooby-Doo was my favorite when I was growing up.) This could have been like catnip for me.
Instead, it’s like being cornered by an obnoxious little kid at a party who wants to show you how funny he is, even though he’s the only one in the place who doesn’t realize that he really isn’t funny at all.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is so in your face about its mediocrity that you can’t help but nod, hold your hands up and slowly back away. At least this time out, the film is on Amazon Prime – so you don’t have to leave your home and spend lots of money on tickets and snacks to be disappointed by it.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 14, 2022.