“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” Blu-Ray Review

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania”

Rated PG-13 – for some action and rude humor including cartoon nudity.
Director: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Starring: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Brian Hull, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Jim Gaffigan, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: January 14, 2022
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 15, 2023 (Amazon.com)

Plot Summary

After one experiment, Johnny turns into a monster and everyone else becomes human. Now it has to be seen whether they will be able to reverse this experiment. (from IMDB.com)

Film Review

In 2012, Sony Animation struck gold when they debuted their own unique horror-inspired family movie, Hotel Transylvania. The quirky, fun comedy united the talents of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, and Jon Lovitz — to name a few. The success of the movie went on to spawn three sequels, the latest of which released last year exclusively to Amazon Prime as an “Amazon Original.” Although I did enjoy the first 2012 film, I was never able to get my hands on any of the sequels before, and so when I tuned into 2022’s Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (AKA Hotel Transylvania 4), it was the first time I was seeing something new featuring these characters in the 10 years since I saw the first movie. With that said, I can’t say anything about the second and third entries, but as a sequel to the original, Transformania certainly feels like the stereotypical superfluous fourth entry.

One thing that never bodes well for a sequel to an animated movie is when two of the central cast don’t return. Comedians Adam Sandler and Kevin James both don’t return as Dracula and Frankenstein, respectively. Dracula is really the film’s central character, alongside Andy Samberg’s Johnny and Selena Gomez’ Mavis, so it’s kind of surprising to find the movie’s main star sitting this one out. However, this is the first movie in the series to bypass theaters altogether and go straight to streaming (which is ultimately today’s version of a movie going straight-to-video). Those not willing to spring for a subscription to Amazon Prime just to watch this fourth entry to the franchise can finally access the movie through all digital retailers or grab it on disc. Unfortunately, as the movie started, I got the vibe pretty quickly as to why Sandler and James are absent… this is basically the kind of sequel you’d expect to go straight-to-video.

Then again, to be fair, adults aren’t the intended audience for a movie like this one. While I remember really enjoying the 2012 original — since many animated movies these days really work for all ages — there’s a pretty good chance Hotel Transylvania 4 is deliberately crafted to appeal to a younger audience.

With that said, Hotel Transylvania 4 finds Johnny and Mavis in line to inherit the hotel from Dracula, however Drac is having second thoughts and invents a nonsensical rule that says only a monster can inherit the hotel. Johnny turns to unhinged scientist Van Helsing who uses a ray on him to turn him into a monster. Drac tries to undo this, but accidentally turns many of the monsters in the hotel into humans instead. Events that unfold find a few of the gang hitting the road on a quest, forcing Drac to do some much needed – although entirely unexpected – soul searching along the way. This makes for some decent emotional beats that help make the movie just a tad better than it deserves to be, but its cheap crude gags and corny humor keep Hotel Transylvania: Transformania from being more than just a forgettable entry in the saga.

Don’t get me wrong; Hotel Transylvania: Transformania does have its moments. It’s silly and still a little entertaining — even if adults are less of the intended shared audience this time. Brian Hull replaces Adam Sandler as Drac, and does a pretty decent job making you forget you’re not actually listening to Sandler’s performance. Still, knowing we have a bit of an imposter voicing such a now-familiar character cheapens the overall feel of the movie. It also doesn’t help that little-known voice actor Brad Abrell is taking over for Kevin James as Frankenstein. Considering that Abrell’s most known role is of the “Worm Guy” in the first three Men in Black movies isn’t all that reassuring. But with Frankenstein having little impact of the plot of this entry, it’s probably a bit more forgivable. The fact Andy Samberg is back as Johnny and Selena Gomez as Mavis certainly helps things, but Johnny seems more annoying as this stage in the story than I previously recall. The animation style is of the more hyper and spastic variety, even to the point where I felt it actually making me a bit anxious. Sometimes this approach works fine for the story, but overall I felt it detracted.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania‘s content warrants the PG rating — mostly because a lot is made of the fact that the Invisible Man is naked all the time while invisible. So when we see him in the flesh finally, we’re given several views of his bare butt, and then several shots where something is shown barely covering his naked crotch. It’s played for laughs, but the gag wears thin pretty immediately. It’s actually kind of interesting when Dracula becomes mortal, because he finds he can finally relate to Johnny being human and lacking any kind of magical powers. While the transforming element drives the plot in an emotional way for Dracula’s story arc, it’s ultimately used as a gimmick for all of the other monster characters. The only other content to be cautious about is some mild language, especially a moment where some wolf children accidentally rearrange some letters in a “Happy Anniversary” sign to “A Very Phine As…” and Drac scrambles to stop them before another “S” is tacked onto the end there. (And for a split second — you’d have to pause it to see this — you can see the letters kind of disjointedly arranged in that order.)

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is a pretty unnecessary sequel, but it gives fans a fourth chance to see these beloved characters together once more. I don’t know if this is intended to be a final chapter or not, but it could work well as a last entry, but is left open just enough if they decided to continue it. My opinion, though, is this is probably a good opportunity to let the characters of Hotel Transylvania checkout before they’ve officially worn out their welcome.

– John DiBiase (reviewed: 8/29/23)


Blu-Ray Special Features



  • Hotel Transylvania Mini-Movie: Monster Pets
  • Monster Mash-Up: Making Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
  • Selena vs. Andy: A Hotel Transyl-Trivia Quiz
  • “Love Is Not Hard to Find” by YE?DRY – Lyric Video
  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • And More!



Parental Guide: Content Summary

. Sex/Nudity: When the Invisible Man turns back to a visible human, we find that he’s naked and see a very closeup shot of his bare butt; We see Invisible Man’s butt crack again.
. Vulgarity/Language: 1 “What the–; Some wolf children accidentally rearrange some letters in a “Happy Anniversary” sign to “A Very Phine As…” and Drac scrambles to stop them before another “S” is tacked onto the end there. (And for a split second — you’d have to pause it to see this — you can see the letters kind of disjointedly arranged in that order.)
. Alcohol/Drugs: None.
. Blood/Gore: We see some gory fish guts food with eyeballs in it.
. Violence: Dracula runs a baggage cart through a bunch of zombie bell hops; We see Frankenstein juggling chainsaws. One gets away from him and causes some chaos in the room; A ray gun turns a Guinea pig into a beast; Johnny is turned into a lizard beast. We see him change in a dramatic fashion where is hands mutate and his feet rip through his shoes, etc.; Monster Johnny crashes through doorways as he runs through the hotel; A zombie bites a human who suddenly turns into a zombie again; Drac falls from a great height but is caught by the mummy; Drac pulls a ray gun out of a zombie’s chest; Drac’s eyes crack from looking at the sun; Drac is almost hit by a car in traffic; Johnny breathes fire while hailing a taxi, which causes a car pile up; Drac smashes into the windshield of a bus and luggage falls on him; Drac is scraped by thorns and stubs his toe; Drac is shown popping out of a lake while being bitten by piranha; GG continues to grow, and as a huge beast, it attacks Mavis; Drac slaps mosquitos that are attacking him; We see a closeup of a mosquito trying to bite Johnny and it can’t penetrate his skin. Its mouth then falls off; We see more closeups of the mosquitos attacking Drac; Baby wolves wreak havoc in the blimp. The mummy accidentally shoots a harpoon; Johnny’s monster gets bigger and more menacing; A hole rips through the bottom of a boat. Wayne uses three baby wolves to plug it up; Stalactites fall from a cave ceiling and stick in a boat; Johnny= destroys things in the forest, stomping rocks and burning trees; Johnny menacingly chases Mavis; Mavis accidentally punches Drac; Johnnyny smashes a cave wall, causing crystals to crash inside; Characters run from the falling crystals, which barely miss crushing people; Sunlight beams burn Mavis; Mrs. Frankenstein uses swords to cut his hair; We see a monster gnawing on a destroyed building.

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