After four “Hotel Transylvania” movies it’s pretty obvious that by now, even Genndy Tartakovsky. I think despite his name being plastered all over this new sequel that he probably didn’t have much to do with its creation. Now that the series is four movies deep, along with a short lived TV series, “Transformania” feels so much less like a high stakes sequel, and a lot more like an extension of the TV series. Watching it, it felt like the studios merely took four scripts for the cancelled series, and stapled them together to create this hodgepodge adventure.
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 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 human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent.
Everything here is absolutely repetitive, failing to cover any new ground, and just going over the same old beats once more. Dracula (Brian Hull fills in for Adam Sandler with a damn good Sandler impersonation) still mourns the days when it was just him and Mavis, despite being in a fulfilling relationship with Van Helsing’s great granddaughter, and having an adorable grandson (who is literally nothing more than a side character now). Mavis insists she loves Johnny the way he is, and we get to see the Drac Pack do what they do best: continue their individual shtick that have cemented them as reliable if boring side characters.
This time around the idea of Dracula giving his daughter the hotel and being unwilling to hand it over, feels like a step back for the character. Everything here struggles to feel like genuine conflict and stakes, as compared to the previous films. It also completely forgets what made the original film so great, with great heart, themes about growing up and learning to let go et al. Instead it’s a lot of human Drac and monster Johnny walking through a jungle to find the film’s maguffin, with Mavis and co. not far behind. A lot of what unfolds are gags that feel tired, while lazily ignoring the once great tension between Drac and Johnny.
“Transformania” is so lazy that they even forget that the monsters are supposed to be hiding from humans, as monster Johnny walks around public spaces freely without drawing any attention. Despite some briefly humorous moments, “Transformania” is dull, lousy, and completely ignores why the first film worked so well.
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.