The Hotel Transylvania franchise has thus far made a charming go of exploring the deep humanity and family bonds within the realm of monsters, so it makes sense that it’d make a firm Bigfoot-sized step into literal territory for its fourth and final outing. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania sees many of its human and monster characters walking a mile in the other’s shoes, delivering the expected lighthearted romp in the process.
Drac and the Pack are back, this time to celebrate a significant anniversary for Drac (now voiced by Brian Hull). The vamp plans to retire and leave his grand hotel to daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) but gets cold feet when he realizes that’ll include her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg). Johnny seeks to prove his worth with the help of Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) invention, which winds up transforming Johnny into a monster and Drac and pals into humans. All will struggle against new limitations and traverse the globe to restore order before it’s too late.
It’s fitting that the final chapter in this family-friendly series closes the book with a lesson on letting go and acceptance. There’s not much left to explore with these characters, who’ve won over human mobs, overcome legendary foes, navigated the tricky waters of parenthood, found second chances, and saw personal growth in monstrously humorous but heartfelt ways. Of course, the only thing standing between Drac and a stress-free retirement with wife Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn) is himself. His inability to let go of his life’s work at the hotel means creating an extreme fish out of water scenario for nearly everyone in his orbit.
That results in cute gags involving Frankenstein (Brad Abrell), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), and Wayne (Steve Buscemi) embracing their human makeovers, including a glimpse of what happens when an ancient mummy loses his wrappings. True to franchise form, it comes with nods for the adult classic horror fan, like the Frankenstein’s bride (Fran Drescher) shrieking at the sight of her (now human) mate. The long-running nods and franchise history continues, too. Consistency remains one of this franchise’s more vital points.
A rampaging Johnny-Zilla means a vibrant globe-trotting adventure that’ll keep its target audience engaged, even as Drac and Mavis retread beats. The supporting Pack doesn’t have much to contribute narratively this time outside of their running jokes, but they each get at least a moment or two to shine by the finale’s end.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania never gets as complex as its moral center suggests, therefore never really rising above a wholesome, exuberant amusement ride. Even if it amounts to a harmless but forgettable time for adults, that’s enough for its intended younger audience. Directors Jennifer Kluska & Derek Drymon close out the quadrilogy with another cute love letter to an endearing makeshift monster family, even in Adam Sandler’s noticeable absence. To demonstrate that they know their audience, the directors even include one final cheeky curtain call post-credits, in all its nude, hairy glory, to tickle the young and young at heart.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on January 14, 2022.