Dracula finds his 'Zing' -The Asian Age

Hotel Transylvania: 3 Summer Vacation or also known as Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is the sequel to 2015's Hotel Transylvania 2 and is the continuation of the series. It is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and also written by Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers.  

Dracula (Adam Sandler), Mavis (Selena Gomez), Johnny (Andy Samberg), Frankenstein (Kevin James), Griifin/Invisible Man (David Space), Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi) Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), Winnie (Sadie Sandler), Wanda the werewolf (Molly Shannon), Eunice Frankenstein (Fran Drescher) and Vlad (Mel brooks), Dracula's father all reprise their roles. New to the cast is Ericka (Kathyrn Hahn) and Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan). 

The movie opens with the past, even before Hotel Transylvania was a thing. It shows the rivalry between Dracula and Van Helsing. Unlike popular interpretations of this rivalry, this interpretation is highly comical. Helsing's family is prejudiced towards monsters and counts the Count to be wicked and horrible. 

Dracula, on the other hand, treats Helsing as a perennial nuisance who is always bothering him and his friends. Their rivalry goes on for years and it seems that Dracula decides to get married, have Mavis and start a hotel. Helsing stays embittered because he cannot let go of his hate for the vampire. 

In the present, Dracula seems overworked and he is also lonely. Though he is very happy to be reunited with his father, Vlad. He now has a better friendship with Johnny and is very happy seeing Dennis grow up, and is happy that Mavis is happy. 

However, the vampire king just wants to also have a companion of his own. The film seems to elaborate on the concept of the "zing", which was used heavily in the first movie. It means finding one's true love in a way. As Dracula had been married to Martha an old idea of romantic love would mean he already found and lost his zing. 

The movie decides to incorporate a more modern and mature understanding of romantic love. One can have many meaningful relationships throughout their lives. Dracula tries to date with hilarious consequences. Mavis does not discern her father's loneliness as a romantic void thus suggests a family vacation. 

She books a monster cruise, which is captained by Ericka. Ericka is a human woman with silver hair and she looks middle aged. However, she is athletic, acrobatic and very high spirited. 

Even if some aspects of the film seem predictable we can still enjoy the humour and also the continuation of themes from previous movies. In the first movie, the theme was acceptance. Dracula has a hatred for humans in the first film because they always think monsters are creatures of violence and death. 

He eventually comes out of his hatred because humanity has started becoming more accepting and progressive. In the second movie, this topic is further explored because Mavis and Johnny are married. Dracula had a hard time accepting Dennis as a regular human/vampire hybrid but the second movie showed he finally realised that his love will remain even if Dennis is a regular human.

The movies seem to reflect how human society in the real world are fighting sexism, racism, misogyny, queerphobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination. In the second film, they also showed that monster society is also not the same as Dracula remembers it. So, there was a battle between tradition and modern views. This film is more personalised to highlight how Dracula has evolved over the years. 

It has its good moments and its sour moments. The sour is that it is not as interesting as the first two films. In my opinion, up till now, the second movie is the best of the trilogy. 

Perhaps, this is because the second movie could balance a lot of elements the best way. Another sour moment is the fact it is predictable to an extent, which though does not detract from the film's good points it just could have just been better executed. 

Ericka comes out as captain literally saying that monsters can say "we are here, we are hairy and we have the right to be scary." I love that line because it is inspired from the LGBTQIA+ community. However, there are no queer couples in Hotel Transylvania. 

It does depict queerness as in fighting body images and gender normative cues (monsters are not necessarily gendered as we are), but we cannot really say any character in the film is fully gender queer or queer in the mainstream understandings of those words. 

Adding to the sour moments is the use of various monster species but more aesthetically. In the previous movies, we see the monster species doing various things and that added to their character. Over here, we just get to see them on-screen for only some moments and that does deflate some of the enthusiasm. 

The good points are that Dracula experiences a "zing" with Ericka, which even a few movies back would have seemed impossible. Dracula had a hard time accepting Dennis as a human so it is a big step forward for him to even consider Ericka a romantic interest. He finds her beautiful, intelligent, graceful and strong. Ericka is obviously interested in Dracula because he is a legend. 

The movie revolves around this: can Ericka look at Dracula other than a legendary monster? Also, the Helsings are around and want to take out Dracula, which realistically portrays that bigotry may have been reduced in the modern world but not completely erased. 

Dracula points out to Ericka that monster or human, it shouldn't matter because at the end of the day we are all people. That is the most powerful message in the movie. I am glad the movie tackled some other mature themes aside acceptance. Realistically, it shows Mavis having trouble accepting her father in love. She is immaturely holding on to the concept that "zing" happens once in a lifetime. 

Yes, Mavis married Jonny, a human, and is a good mother but she is only 26 and she can be immature. Whereas Jonny seems open to the idea of Dracula being in love with Ericka though even his own son accepts that out of his parents it is Mavis who is the more mature one. 

Speaking of Dennis, his best friend is still Winnie and they have subplot in where they bring the monster puppy, Tinkles, without permission. Their attempts to hide him are humorous but the chemistry and bond between Winnie and Dennis is undeniable. 

We can see in them a young love flourishing and love as friendship is truly important. I am also happy this movie focused on Wayne and Wanda, the werewolves. They have too many children and Wanda always seems to be pregnant. 

I wonder if this joke is aimed at the fact that they are like "dogs/wolves" but I was seriously wondering why Wanda and Wayne never seem to be on any type of contraceptive as they are always having kids. Wayne and Wanda take the vacation to be a couple again, which makes them happy and the viewers happy as well.

Overall, Hotel Transylvania 3 is an enjoyable film with a lot of humour, sweet moments and a strong message: love can happen at any age and you can have more than one true love in your lifetime. 

The writer is a Copy Editor at The Asian Age