DRACULA: "Don't you get it? I want to go on a date!I'm.
" MAVIS: "You're stressed our from working too hard.
You need a vacation from running everyone else's vacation.
"And I know just how to fix it.
" "DRACULA: "Mavis, where are we going? "A cruise!" Yup, it's that kind of plot.
You know, these days, folks, I feelreally sorry for Genndy Tartakovsky.
Here is an animator who, through severalmuch-beloved cartoons of the last twenty years, has established much of the visual style that awhole generation of television animation has followed.
Even outside of Samurai Jack, his magnum opus,his work on others’ cartoons goes far and wide.
And what has this visionary’s career atSony Animation consisted of for the last several years? Being promised a chance to make something he’spassionate about if he’ll direct a Hotel Transylvania, then being told ‘nope’ after he’s done that,and slotted in to make another Hotel Transylvania.
However, despite being stuck with animatedAdam Sandler vehicles that subscribe to most children’s movies clichés, Genndy has doneone thing to make these films stand out.
There are other modern CG animationsthat recall the anarchy of the great cartoon shorts, but none of them commit toanti-realistic madcap physics like these do.
I realise, to a lot of viewers, this translatesto wacky character animation for the sake of it.
And sure, in and of itself,it only proves as an amusing distraction from the boredom present elsewhere in these films.
The good news, then: since Genndy has a co-writingcredit on Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, that means the screenplay is structured to allow for as much of that angular, classical cartooning as possible.
It gets really close to being afeature-length take on a 40’s cartoon short.
The ones that establish a loose scenario and setting and them cram in as muchvisual jokes as 7 minutes allows for.
Now, Hotel Transylvania 3 can’t fully be that,as it’s still a film made on Sony Animation money, and thus, has a largely limp narrative.
Honestly, it’s basically dead as regards meat for discussion.
Narratively and in character arcs, it takesthe easy path, and Genndy’s wit doesn’t bleed over into the verbal jokes, which remain largely lifeless, like Dracula sucked on their blood.
I like to care about animated characters,even gag vehicles, but this reveals plot-heavy info so muchearlier then the main characters find it out, that it’s hard to drum up much sentimentfor them during the plotless middle third.
But, again, that’s clearly not the point here.
The point is the visual gags.
Even if the film can’t be all about them,there are so many scenes that exist mostly for comic business in playing aroundwith the characters’ squishy bodies and flexible faces.
It’s almost cliché to say a given animated workhas a lot of Looney Tunes in it, but clichés become so because they are true,my friends.
In particular, I was often reminded of the workof Bob Clampett, one of the Looney Tunes pioneers.
He specialised in plastic physics-defying humour, doing quite a bit to make the Looney Tunes loony in the first place.
There’s even an early sequence with gremlinsthat's almost narratively pointless and is mostly a tribute to Clampett’s gremlins,that’s how far the influence goes.
I would love to list off the various visual things thatcaught my eye, but I’ll keep it to a few highlights.
Genndy clearly loved the design of the captain,who feels like a survivor of his Popeye feature that Sony killed in its crib several years back,with her bulgy proportions and springy limbs.
This is a feature that really lovesrubber-hose style animation, with body parts jolting into place and stretchingeven when a gag doesn’t specifically call for it.
Everything is sidelined to focus on being visually bold,in the colours, the lighting and especially the poses.
Most CG animation focuses on smooth, constant motion.
This one puts extra work into havingstatic poses be very strong and expressive.
In case this sounds like somethingonly an animation nerd might notice, it really isn’t.
It’s very visually unsubtle,but never in an unsettling way.
And again, that the screenplay is largely, though notcompletely, structured around this comic business means a large percentage is blissful, cartoon anarchy,even if obviously not every gag works.
You’re constantly aware that Genndy loves animation, and wants to share itsvisual delights as best he can.
Even if, regrettably, this one doesn’t give hima chance to make something truly special, which is something Sony Animation desperately needs,he has nothing to be ashamed of here.
Either way, looks like Hotel Transylvania 3takes the bottom spot on the list.
It’s script, narrative and characterslock it below being a good film, but it’s the first one in the franchise where all thatdidn’t dominate my impression coming out of the theatre.
Put in this way:if this film remains at the list’s bottom, we have a very solid slate ofanimated features for the rest of the year.
The reviews keep coming,with Teen Titans Go! To the Movies next.
Now, this would be where I’d vocalise how my fanaticaldesire for more “traditional” animation in theatres comes up against a visual style only marginallyupgraded from the TV show it’s based on.
Not to mention being based on a TV show that, whilenot nearly the abomination many often claim it to be, is wildly inconsistent in delivering its mildgoods.
But, this film has been gettingabsurdly strong critical reviews.
Not Pixar level, but far betterthen I’d have ever predicted.
So, I’m curious to see for myselfwhat the film’s done to earn that praise.
DRACULA: "Must have been garlic in the guacamole.
"ERIKA: "Isn't that deadly for you?" [farts] [chuckles]DRACULA: "Was that you?" I hope you enjoyed the video, folks.
Be sure to let me know your thoughts on both thereview and Hotel Transylvania 3, if you’ve seen it.
Plus, liking, subscribing, all that good stuff,would really help spread the channel’s reach, as would some social media follows.
Every little bit helps, you know.
Until next time, folks.