Remember when you were younger and life was full of new adventures? Remember the days of just enjoying your family, having fun playing games and the promise of a new day? As we get older, those days of pure bliss are quickly replaced by the mundane tasks of everyday life. The daily routines of parenthood, the never-ending cycle of office life and the blandness of marriage. Soon you’ll find yourself stuck. This is where we meet the infamous family of Hotel Transylvania. Stuck in the daily struggle of life, they are in desperate need of family time, rest and relaxation. What better way to recharge those batteries than during a family summer vacation (via your local Gremlins Airline) to the Bermuda Triangle and an exotic land full of surprises.
Co-writer/co-director Genndy Tartakovsky was on hand on during Sony Pictures Animation Studios preview of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, which showcased an impressive sequel despite still being a work in progress. Tartakovsky, who directed both previous Hotel Transylvania has returned along with Michelle Mordocca, who produced the previous two films as well as this latest franchise entry. The entire cast is back again as well, along with newcomers Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing and Hahn as a cruise ship captain named Ericka.
During the preview, clips were shown in various stages of completion (which was fun to see sketches come to life) that gave us new adventures on the high seas where not everything is all rainbows and sunshine. This time around our supportive caped crusader, Drac, is lonely and in need of a good distraction, however even this seems impossible as a darkness lingers around the corner in the form of Ericka Van Helsing, who is holding onto a secret that could change Drac’s family forever.
Tartakovsky says that the inspiration for the new film came directly from his real-life experience. “After I finished the second film, I needed a vacation, and my in-laws surprised us with a family cruise,” he notes. “I’m sure everyone loves their in-laws as much as I do, but the cruise forced us all to be together in a small space for a week. That inspired me, what would happen if you put Drac’s Pack in that situation?”
For Tartakovsky return to co-writing and directing, he felt returning to the characters came down to the story. Simply put, there had to be a reason for him to come back and make another one, a seaworthy sequel. “I love the characters, but if we were going to do a third film, we had to take them someplace they’ve never been before, both physically and emotionally,” says Tartakosky. “That’s what we’re doing here. Not only are Drac’s Pack out of the hotel and visiting fun, exotic locations on a monster cruise, but we’ve turned Drac and Mavis’ relationship on its head. Instead of Drac being the concerned parent as his daughter falls in love and has a child, now Mavis is overly concerned as her father ‘zings’ for a second time. Or maybe she’s not overly concerned, maybe he’s in real danger.”
Despite being an animation about monsters, Summer Vacation is very relatable. Being on a family vacation is a mixed bag; you love them but you can’t wait to leave their side. Throughout the movie, this is accurately portrayed by showing a vacation through different point-of-views of both parents and the children. If you’re a kid, your parents embarrass you, if you’re a parent your children will nag you until you’re begging for a vacation from your vacation. As a result, this makes for some really funny moments involving a daycare center and a speedos number.
One of the most enjoyable elements of Summer Vacation is the animation. Similar to the previous installments, Tartakovsky describes it as “push” style of animation that’s filled with exaggerated vision, with sight gags and funny cartoonish expressions. The characters are filled with an array of emotions that can go to the extreme but also can become very humanistic looking. It’s apparent that in Summer Vacation, the animators really pushed themselves to create a more vibrant and emotional film that one shouldn’t miss.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation releases in theaters on July 13th