If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.
This time around Dracula has settled in to the hotel with his daughter Mavis, who now co-owns and dotes over her son Dennis. Concerned for her father who is lonely, she decides to take him on a secret vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship. Hoping Dracula can unwind and meet the monster of his dreams, the family engages in some world class cruise ship antics and misadventures, and Dracula instantly falls for the cruise ship’s human director Ericka. But not all is as it seems as Ericka is hiding a long lineage of monster hunters, and she has plans for Dracula and his friends.
As I explained in the aforementioned paragraph, “A Monster Vacation” is a mixed bag once again, as the movie struggles to maintain Tartakovsky’s clever wit, while kind of bending for Sandler. Thankfully the toilet humor and gross out junk is nowhere to be found, and Sandler sticks to Dracula as an engaging, often fun anti-hero just looking for some form of happiness. Since “A Monster Vacation” is basically a monster mash, everyone returns, and it’s a laugh riot most of the time. I especially loved the sub-plot involving the wolf man Wayne and his wife Wanda, who have an impossible time comprehending the idea of daycare, and simply have no idea what to do with themselves and free time.
The voice cast is also top notch with the inclusion of Kathryn Hahn as Ericka, and Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing. The classic voice cast is as good as ever, including Andy Sandberg as human ally Johnny whose unabashed love for music and DJing proves to be pretty charming. Overall, “A Monster Vacation” not a masterpiece, as much like the first two, it feels a lot like a string of puns and sight gags, and less like a cohesive universe. And most of the supporting characters are just there (Mel Brooks’ Vlad, Frankenstein, etc.), never really adding much to the narrative. On its own it’s an okay third leg in the movie series with Tartakovsky channeling a lot of what makes his animation and humor so engaging.