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HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA- Unable to transform a solid new story for the franchise

Amazon Studios

Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska

Stars: Andy Samberg, Brian Hull, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Keegan-Michael Key, and David Spade

I am extremely glad this one came direct to streaming because I feel like had I made the drive to a theatre to watch this I would’ve been in a far worse mood. Sure this isn’t a bad movie by all means, and there’s plenty for a family to enjoy- especially if you are fans of the franchise. It’s more so just that there is not much left to do with these characters- and that comes across extremely clear that we’ve kind of reached the Transylvania series’ ceiling. The third one was a pleasant surprise that had left me laughing throughout the goofy vacation adventure they go on- but Hotel Transylvania: Transformania just does not have that same spark.

When Van Helsing's mysterious invention, the "Monsterfication Ray", goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny becomes a monster. In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it's too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent.

From a story perspective this is probably the most boring adventure that Drac and the family goes on. We leave the hotel setting behind again just like we did in Hotel Transylvania 3, but this time Andy Samberg’s Johnny is our main PoV and not Drac. Which unfortunately doesn’t turn out to be the hit I’m sure they hoped it to be- Johnny is a one dimensional comic relief character and there just enough there in the character himself to be a particularly interesting main focal point nor is there enough jokes that land to make him a funny lead. As well, were introduced to a South American setting- but we never really get to actually enjoy it. Theres a small montage of gags that take place as human Drac, and monster Johnny tread towards fixing their transformations- but all of the gags end fast, and there’s nothing really there that was strong enough to get a ton of laughter from adults, which is to bad considering that was a strong area for its original films. The messaging is nice, and it’s something we’ve seen countless times before but they do it in their own way so one cannot ding them there. It was only really the adventure itself that made the movie more bland throughout the most important parts of its runtime.

Voice acting wise it’s not bad, Brian Hull replaced Adam Sandler as Drac- and he does a really spot on job of impersonating the Sandler vampire voice. Samberg gets more to do as Johnny, but really as hit upon above he’s not interesting enough as a character to really have anything to sway on. There’s not enough for Kathryn Hahn or Selena Gomez to do in this one which is a pity because both of their characters are some of the best in the franchise.

If you’ve got a family that loves this franchise, check it out this weekend on Amazon Prime- but otherwise you don’t really have to stream this one. It’s an avoidable fourth film, in a series that had capped off perfectly with its third one.


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