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According to Cineplex Magazine, writer/director Genndy Tartakovsky finally agreed to do the second sequel when his in-laws invited him and his family on a cruise ship to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This was when Tartakovsky realized that being confined to one location with ones family’s is fertile ground for the drama and disaster needed for this third outing.
The first two H.T. films were only so-so, so one wonders the reason Tartakovsky was so reluctant to do a third film. To his credit, this one is the funniest of the lot, likely because Tartakovsky has gained more experience as an animated comedic director. There are not that many jokes that involve the monsters in the confined space of a cruise ship, likely because the ship is large enough for the monsters to get lost.
Unlike most animated films (DESPICABLE ME, ZOOTOPIA) in which the plot involves something really substantial like saving the world, the lazy story involves the monsters escaping extinction as they are pursued throughout the ages by the Van Helsing family who believe that all monsters are bad and must be eradicated from the face of the earth. This is introduced at the film’s start, which is actually the film’s most hilarious bit, where the monsters are in disguise trying to pass on as humans on a train when Van Helsing suddenly appears. A chase on the top of the running train ensues with the monster all getting away with Van Helsing as the only casualty.
Dracula (Adam Sandler) agrees to go on a cruise ship with his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and his troupe of monsters that includes Frankenstein (Kevin James), the werewolf (Steve Buschemi) and the invisible man (David Spade). He goes on a date and falls in love with the ship’s captain, Erika (Kathryn Hahn) who not only happens to be a woman but Van Helsing’s daughter and has it in her blood to destroy Dracula and his pals.
With Adam Sandler leading the voice cast, one can expect the jokes to be silly. And the jokes come as silly as they get, which fortunately are quite hilarious. One complaint is that they happen a bit too fast, so that a lot will be missed if one is not paying full attention. The lazy plot allows for a lot of improvised jokes with the monsters reacting largely to each other. The voice cast is impressive, and includes the likes of Kathryn Hahn, David Spade, Wanda Sykes and even Mel Brooks. It is hard to know who is voicing which character even with Sandler voicing Dracula, as Sandler does his characterization with an East European accent.
Even a child will know that Dracula will survive once again from the clutches of Van Helsing or his daughter. Director Tartakovsky manages to sneak in a nice message or two within the proceedings.
The idea of an animated feature containing all the known movie monsters is a good one, thus spurning three in the franchise and with more, more likely to come.