Hotel Transylvania: Transformania Parent Guide
Lacking the heart of prior films in the franchise, this instalment tries to use frenetic action as a substitute for entertainment.
Parent Movie Review
Feeling unaccepted by his father-in-law, Dracula (Brian Hull), human Johnny (Andy Samberg) expresses a wish to become a monster so that he can fit in with the family. Conveniently, Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) has just what Johnny’s looking for: a device that can turn a human into a monster or a monster into a human. But when the device goes awry, Drac and his friends are all turned into humans, and Johnny’s new monster form comes with some unintended dangers. Desperate to return to their usual selves, the whole group set out for South America, which holds their only hope for a cure.
I maintain that the first two movies in the Hotel Transylvania franchise are pretty good. Not outstanding, but perfectly watchable and mildly entertaining. I found the third film to be lacking, and unfortunately the downward trend continues with this fourth installment. By far the weakest film of the bunch, Transformania lacks the cleverness and heart of the past, and instead uses an unrelenting frenetic pace to trick viewers into thinking they’re being entertained.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Adam Sandler. He and Kevin James (who voiced Frank in the past) both chose to not return to their roles and the movie suffers for it. It’s less noticeable with Frank, but Drac feels like he’s missing something. Brian Hull is a good soundalike to Sandler, and his voice acting is perfectly fine, but there’s some unexplainable quality that the character lacks with his new voice actor. Did I ever think I’d be saying that a film needs more Adam Sandler? Absolutely not, but here we are.
As often happens with long running franchises, many of the characters forget their lessons from previous movies, reverting to their past mistakes and faults. Even worse, some of the characters have become flat caricatures with only one or two attributes in order to make the plot work. Johnny is no longer a lovable doofus, instead he is annoying and stupid, with the energy of a two year old on a constant diet of Red Bull. The movie itself has similar manic energy, as it moves from gag to gag with no breathing room in between. Perhaps this was a move to cater to young audiences with short attention spans, but it left me feeling like I just got home from the gym.
Aside from cartoony slapstick violence and a gag about the Invisible Man being naked all the time, there’s not much negative content to speak of. Similarly, there aren’t many strong positive messages to mention either. As with the entire franchise, there are some themes around acceptance, and there’s a nice bit about positivity, but they feel shoehorned in around all the wild action and slapstick antics. Young fans of the franchise will probably be entertained, but adults might want to sit this one out.Directed by Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska. Starring Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Jim Gaffigan. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release January 14, 2022. Updated January 13, 2022
Watch the trailer for Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
Rating & Content Info
Why is Hotel Transylvania: Transformania rated PG? Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is rated PG by the MPAA for some action and rude humor including cartoon nudity
Violence: Slapstick violence throughout, including hits, falls, punches, and slaps. A man is attacked by piranhas. Multiple cars crash into each other, though no injuries are seen. A monster evolves multiple times, each time becoming larger and scarier.
Sexual Content: Couples hug and briefly kiss. A man is naked for an extended period for a humorous reason, no nudity is visible aside from his buttocks.
Profanity: A sight gag leads to a character almost saying a mild expletive but doesn’t finish.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated January 13, 2022
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania Parents' Guide
What is Johnny’s outlook on life and how does that contrast with Drac’s? What does Drac learn about looking for the positive? How can you look for the positive in your life?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Fans of eccentric families living in gloomy castles will get a kick out of Deb Gliori’s Pure Dead Magic series. Suitable for kids in mid-elementary school.
Anne Marie Pace’s Vampirina Ballerina gives young readers a light-hearted story about a young vampire who desperately wants to twirl on her toes and dance.
In Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, Laura Ellen Anderson spins the tale of a young vampire who desperately wants to skip her parents’ annual ball and stay home with her pet pumpkin and best friend, a yeti.
Related home video titles:
Drac’s pack get their start in Hotel Transylvania when Johnny meets Mavis – and her father, Dracula. Hotel Transylvania 2 sees Dracula worrying that his grandson might not have inherited enough monstrous traits. Drac’s extended family set sale for fun and relaxation in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
Older viewers who aren’t frightened by a blood-sucking vampire or two will get a kick out of Dracula, filmed in 1931 and starring Bela Lugosi. Another vampire flick with that’s relatively light on gore (but not on profanity) is Vampires vs. the Bronx.