Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Slapsticky monster sequel has silly laughs, mild peril.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will be introduced to classic monsters (at least before they're transformed) and hear a few words in Spanish.
Positive messages include the importance of accepting others for who they are, being empathetic to others' differences, learning how to respect children's relationships, and communicating with friends and family members. There's an overarching theme about not forcing others to change and appreciating what they bring to your life.
Positive Role Models
Drac is, as always, a caring, attentive father, grandfather, and even father-in-law, even though he gets flustered easily and lies about his intentions. Johnny is loving, enthusiastic, and eager to contribute to the family, if a bit over-energetic. Mavis is intelligent, loyal, and brave. She protects and defends her family. Ericka is happy to be part of the Hotel Transylvania family and has given up her monster-hating ways. The friends are all loyal to Drac and one another.
The human (or human-looking) characters are predominantly White. A couple of voice actors are Black or Latino. The characters are all different types of monsters (and a human) and live harmoniously with one another. Tolerance and acceptance are major themes of the movie. Female characters have agency, but male characters are in the story's spotlight.
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Violence & Scariness
Physical comedy involves lots of slapstick bits with characters falling or getting hurt but not too seriously injured (like big falls and an extended sequence of mosquitoes and piranhas biting a now-human Drac). The Johnny monster gets increasingly more feral and beast-like as the movie develops and loses his human thoughts. All of the characters survive dangerous situations in which it seems they'll be seriously injured, whether from the environment or the transformed monsters -- but all ends well. Destruction of property by various monsters. Potentially scary gerbil monster has fangs and red eyes. Some disagreements.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mavis and Johnny hug, dance, and kiss briefly. Drac and Ericka also flirt and hug. A few butt jokes and shots of a bare butt (one especially large/looming) when formerly invisible Griffin becomes visible. Frank takes selfies of his new hunkified human-looking self, and he's shirtless in one scene.
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Mild insults like: "I'm disgusting," "I'm so human," "No one wants to see you," and screaming in horror at a character's new appearance.
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Products & Purchases
On camera, just a Sharpie and a quick glance of a phone. Off camera, the movie series has many tie-in products: apparel, games, figurines, toys, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult monsters drink a toast at a party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the fourth (and supposedly final) installment in the animated Hotel Transylvania series of movies about classic movie monsters. The story focuses on Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg), who uses Van Helsing's (Jim Gaffigan) "Monsterfication Ray" to turn himself into a monster after Drac (Brian Hull, stepping in for Adam Sandler) lies and tells him that only a monster can inherit the family business. But the device also turns the monsters, including Drac himself, into humans. Expect mild peril (falls from heights, etc.), lots of slapstick physical comedy (mostly at the expense of how frail humans are compared to monsters), property destruction, and a fanged and red-eyed rampaging gerbil monster. There are few laugh-inducing shots of the Invisible Man's bare bum once he becomes visible (one shot is especially large and looming), as well as some affection/kissing between couples, mild insults, and characters drinking a toast during a celebration. "Humanizing" the monsters makes it clear that the characters are more diverse as monsters than they are as humans. But as with the previous movies, the story has themes of celebrating differences, accepting others as they are, and the importance of teamwork.
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Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
Based on 11 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA opens with a party celebrating the hotel's 150th anniversary. Even though Drac (voiced by Brian Hull, taking over for Adam Sandler) has a plan for the event, his human son-in-law, Johnny (Andy Samberg), takes over the proceedings. Drac had planned to announce that he was retiring and leaving the hotel to his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), but given how over-the-top Johnny can be, Drac changes his mind and tells Johnny that he can't inherit the hotel because of a "no humans" clause in monster real estate law. Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) offers Johnny the chance to use a special ray gun that turns him into a monster. It works, but -- naturally -- chaos ensues, and Drac is soon transformed into a middle-aged human man, as are his monster friends. The ray gun breaks, and Drac finds out that fixing it requires a crystal located in South America, so he convinces Johnny to take a spur-of-the-moment trip with him to find it. After the father-and-son-in-law leave, Mavis and Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) realize they must follow Drac and Johnny before the transformation turns Johnny into a totally mindless beast. The now-humanized monster crew accompanies the women on their rescue mission.
Is It Any Good?
This supposedly final movie about Drac and Mavis' monster family and their silly adventures is sure to make little ones laugh and adults feel nostalgic for monster movies of old. Sandler and James may be out, but the professional voice actors who replaced them are skilled enough to make that a non-issue. And while the plot is pretty thin, this has never been a franchise based on propulsive plot twists. The kid-friendly comedy is really just an excuse to see iconic movie monsters turned into sight-gags and slapstick comedy acts. By that standard, Transformania is more of the same formula -- lots of physical comedy shenanigans that leave the characters injured (again and again, in Drac's case) in a laugh-out-loud way. Drac's new human body is frail, and his inability to deal with everything from motion sickness to heavy lifting to environmental allergies and mosquito bites is entertaining.
While Drac and Johnny bond in South America as they look for the new crystal for Van Helsing's weapon, the two women (Mavis and Ericka) clearly save the day. They're the ones who make rational decisions, troubleshoot, communicate in a healthy way, and bravely lead the team into perilous circumstances. And once again, there's a sweet "odd couple" vibe to the central relationships: Mavis and Johnny, Drac and Ericka, even Drac and Johnny. The quartet of Drac's monster pals-turned-humans will also provide the comic relief that kids are used to: Werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi) becomes a bearded man; invisible Griffin (David Spade) is a naked man (who knew?); Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) is small and ancient; Frank (Brad Abrell) is surprisingly tall and handsome; and good ol' Blobby (Genndy Tartakovsky) is a plain ol' jel-ring mold. Their new selves lead to more comedy, like when Bride of Frankenstein Eunice (Fran Drescher) screams when she sees her now hunkified husband, as if he's repulsive. Bottom line? The Hotel Transylvania movies are light and jokey and just right for kids who prefer their monsters on the safe side.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of not-so-scary monster movies like Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. How does it turn classic monster-movie villains into everyday characters?
Who are the role models in the movie? What character strengths do they display? What role do communication, empathy, and teamwork play in the story?
How does this movie compare to the first three in the series? Do you think there should be any more? Did you notice that Drac's voice is no longer Adam Sandler and Frankenstein isn't Kevin James?
- On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2022
- Cast: Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Brian Hull
- Directors: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Communication, Empathy, Gratitude, Teamwork
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action and rude humor including cartoon nudity
- Last updated: May 4, 2022
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