Film: "Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation'; Director: Genndy Tartakovsky; Voiceovers by Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Kathryn Hahn; Rating: **
Just when you feel happy about animation films coming of age with "The Incredibles 2", the sheer juvenile delinquency of this franchise over-reacher knocks you senseless.
"Hotel Transylvania 3" sees smudges of psychedelic colours applied to characters who are so broad that they seem drawn with the pencil of preposterousness. There is nothing subtle about "Hotel Transylvania", which miraculously has reached Stage 3 without making any effort to broaden the bandwidth of its splashy bacchanalia.
No wonder Count Dracula (voiced ably by Adam Sandler) is stuck in a time warp. He is supposedly over 500 years old. This is how old I felt after sitting through this dreadful mishmash of ill-conceived ghoul, though alas not so cool, gags and cyber stunts that make the animation characters look like creatures in a pop-out book for nursery school-goers.
The humour tried hard to be urbane. And some of the situations on-board a vacation cruise where Dracula falls in love with the sassy and seductive captain of the ship Erica (voiced with a smouldering splendour by Katheryn Hahn) are smile-inducing, specially the way Dracula goes mooney-eyed and zonked-out on seeing Erica, and the way Dracula's disapproving daughter Mavis (nicely voiced by Selena Gomez) watches the growing romance between her father and ship-riped stranger.
But then Erica has a hidden agenda. A-ha! She is not what she seems. The vendetta angle reminded me of the 1969 Bollywood film "Inteqaam".
The smudgy splashy pandemonium done in a breathless rush works only for those who treat the movie-going experience as a joyride contained in a bag of popcorn. For those of us who thought animation films from Hollywood had attained a state of maturation after "The Incredibles 2", this film comes as a rumbustious jolt, reminding us that the "intelligence" applied to virtual entertainment has more to do with the colloquial communication conventions of the social media than any genuine passion for carrying forward the cinematic torch.
Torn between a family saga of monsters pleading for legitimacy, and a roller-coaster fun escapade for audiences who think a giggle is all the reward we need for braving it into a multiplex, this film just exasperates you with its gimmicks and gags. It tries too hard to please.
At the outset when Dracula's daughter suggests a vacation to get over the vacation crowds at the eponymous hotel, what we don't know is, we would need a vacation from animation to get over this one.