Hotel Transylvania

2012, Sony Pictures Animation

Hotel has so many contradictory qualities that it's challenging to know where to begin. While it's competently produced, it invokes the feeling of a studio attempting to capitalize on a trend—in this case, CGI animations voiced by well-known actors. As for the theme, I can't escape how it reminds me of The Munsters, and how that show always felt like a cheesy knock-off of The Addams Family. The animation itself is less than satisfying; in the extras, the producers express their desire to use a more extreme style, which only amplifies the frenetic, disjointed action. The end result is a film I can only summarize as annoying. But obviously theater-goers didn't think so: the box office take was over $350 million for a film that cost only $85 million. One can only surmise that it was entertaining for little folk; pity their poor parents.

 

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Hotel Transylvania 2

2015, Sony Pictures Animation

Sony must be doing something right, since their sequel—which delivers more of precisely the same—earned over $470 million on a film that cost $5 million less than the first one. Critical reception was the same on both films as well: tepid at best. I cannot add any more insight here, since both films were cut from the very same cloth. But wait, there's more: the franchise has spawned an animated television series, also produced by Sony; the first season premiered in 2017. (I've not seen it, and have no desire or intention to do so.)

 

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Hotel Transylvania 3

2018, Sony Pictures Animation

Subtitled "Summer Vacation," this installment surprisingly is the best of the lot—marginally, anyway. I still don't care for the animation style, and adults will likely find it rather tedious and predictable, but there are a couple of chuckles to be had this time 'round, and it may be good babysitting material (I wouldn't know—I don't have any offspring).

 

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