Release Date(s)2018 (January 19, 2022)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation (Random Space Media)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C
[Editor's Note: This is a REGION-FREE Blu-ray 2D and 3D release.]
If there was any thought that the Hotel Transylvania franchise was in a slump, it was put to rest when the third entry, Hotel Transylvania 3 (subtitled A Monster Vacation or Summer Vacation depending on where you live in the world), slayed the box office in 2018. Outgrossing its predecessors and becoming the most successful film in Sony Pictures Animation’s history, it further cemented the series as a veritable cash cow. Surprising to many, they weren’t the simple-minded, sloppy mainstream messes that they were perceived to be, with a firm foothold in the creative and not just the corporate. And though the third film is the weakest in the series thus far, it’s still an enjoyable romp with the established characters, which are not necessarily pop culture icons, but beloved nonetheless.
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) is feeling the stress of overworking himself at the hotel, but also the loneliness, having never “zinged” with anyone since his wife’s death. His friends attempt to set him up with potential candidates, but none of them spark for him. Mavis (Selena Gomez), assuming that he just needs a vacation from work, books a cruise ship for everyone to get away from it all. Once on board, he meets the ship’s captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), zinging with her immediately, attempting to keep it from Mavis. Little do they know that Ericka is actually the daughter of Professor Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), Drac’s old rival who’s still alive. Though she initially despises him, Ericka begins to fall for Drac, but can’t find it in herself to tell him the truth—that Van Helsing has gathered all of the monsters on the ship to destroy them once and for all.
The idea that Dracula needs a new love interest surprisingly works. Many folks who’ve lost people closest to them find it impossible to move on, making Drac a more sympathetic character than he has been in the previous films. Mavis is preoccupied with having a good time and only starts to notice Drac and Ericka together gradually before confronting them, but her motivations for not wanting them to be together sound more like those of an 8-year-old than a grown woman who’s seen a thing or two. Van Helsing is also a very traditional villain. It might have been more interesting if Ericka had been the villain all along, and only at the end realizes the error of her ways and how much she loves Dracula. Regardless, Hotel Transylvania 3 has the same great characters (the majority voiced by the same actors in all three films) with plenty of moments to shine. It’s the less intriguing of the three, but there’s still enough here to latch onto.
Hotel Transylvania 3 was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 theatrically. Like the previous two films, the Blu-ray 2D looks as colorful and crisp as you can imagine for 1080p. Everything is very well rendered but not overly sharp, appearing slightly soft around the edges to give characters and objects definition. Hues are all over the map, from bursting primaries and secondaries and a range of neons during the party and dance sequences. The Blu-ray 3D offers a presentation that focuses primarily on depth. Even the opening Columbia Pictures logo pops out beautifully. A minor bit of ghosting is visible in the Sony logo, as well as one other moment in the film, but everything is aligned well elsewhere. The many environments and kinetic character activities in both wide shots and close-ups allow the 3D to envelop. Both options offer fine presentations.
The main audio selection is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it’s a very active and immersive experience. Because the film is filled with a number of monsters doing any number of things, the sound design keeps the sound system busy. Frequent activity is staged all around, panning and zooming from speaker to speaker, but also providing background ambience. The track also aids Mark Mothersbaugh’s excellent score, as well as the music selection. Other audio options on the Blu-ray 2D include English Descriptive Audio; and Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish 5.1 DTS-HD Master. Other audio options on the Blu-ray 3D include English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, and English Descriptive Audio. Subtitle options on both discs include English, English SDH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Random Space Media’s release of Hotel Transylvania 3 features both Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray 2D discs of the film. The following extras are included on the Blu-ray 2D disc only:
- Audio Commentary with Genndy Tartakovsky, Scott Wills, and Michael Ford
- Puppy! Animated Short (4:55)
- Goodnight Mr. Foot Animated Short (4:07)
- Scary-Oke Sing-Along: Dennis Had a Giant Dog (2:11)
- Scary-Oke Sing-Along: Monsters Like to Party Down (2:33)
- Scary-Oke Sing-Along: Oh These Wolf Pups! (2:43)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing-Along with Denisovich!: Hush Little Monster (1:13)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing-Along with Denisovich!: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat (1:48)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing-Along with Denisovich!: Vlady Had a Little Drac (1:05)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing-Along with Denisovich!: Holiday Scary-Oke – Deck the Halls (:39)
- Behind the Screams: The Voices of Hotel Transylvania 3 (7:29)
- Johnny's Home Movies (5:19)
- Drac's Zing-Tastic Read Along (2:31)
- Monster Activities!: Vampire Make-Overs: Mavis and Drac Make-Up How To (3:41)
- Monster Activities!: Creating Drac: Designing the Character (5:24)
- Monster Activities!: Make Your Own Watermelon Jack-O-Lantern (1:04)
- I See Love Dance Party (2:46)
- It’s Party Time Lyric Video (1:22)
- I See Love Lyric Video (2:58)
- Float Lyric Video (1:08)
- Seavolution Lyric Video (:43)
- Mommy, My Hero Lyric Video (1:15)
- More Hotel T!: Hotel Transylvania Trailer (2:37)
- More Hotel T!: Hotel Transylvania 2 Trailer (2:42)
- More Hotel T!: Hotel Transylvania Monsters Mobile Game Trailer (:17)
In the audio commentary with director Genndy Tartakovsky, production designer Scott Wills, and visual effects supervisor Michael Ford, Wills and Ford have the more interesting comments and Tartakovsky generally tends to mention jokes that did and didn’t work during test screenings. In Puppy!, Dennis gets the puppy that’s seen in the film. Goodnight Mr. Foot, which was included on the Blu-ray for Hotel Transylvania 2, is presented in the style of the closing credits animation in which Bigfoot stays at the hotel for the night and a witch makes sure he’s not disturbed while he sleeps. Most of the Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing-Alongs are carried over from the Blu-ray for Hotel Transylvania 2. Behind the Screams speaks to the cast about their characters while Johnny’s Home Movies recaps the previous films. Drac's Zing-Tastic Read Along is a story about Dracula read by the characters. The Monster Activities! are for younger viewers, but one is hosted by Genndy Tartakovsky in which he demonstrates how to draw Drac. I See Love Dance Party demonstrates dance moves. The rest of the extras are self-explanatory. Not included from other releases elsewhere in the world is a Meet the New Characters featurette, and an additional Monster Activities! segment, Plan Your Own Spook-tacular Sleepover!.
Being such a monster-sized hit, it’s no surprise that Hotel Transylvania 3 would be followed up with an additional film, which as of this writing, is not available on home video. Random Space Media corrects Sony’s mistake of not releasing a Blu-ray 3D of the third film everywhere else in the world. (Hopefully, Random Space Media will get a crack at Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.) For Blu-ray 3D junkies and fans of the series, this disc is a no-brainer.
- Tim Salmons