With the release of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania this weekend, here is a ranking of the four films in the animated franchise, from worst to best.
The Hotel Transylvania series has been a consistent favorite among younger viewers since its inception, with each animated film bringing in an impressive figure at the box office. The films put a lighter, more silly spin on the famous Universal monsters like Dracula and the Wolfman, with all of the classic monsters coming together under the roof of Dracula’s hotel. With the latest entry in the franchise, Hotel Translyvania: Transformania, releasing on Prime Video due to a resurgence in the pandemic, it is time to rank the series from worst to best.
Releasing in 2012, the first Hotel Transylvania film brought Adam Sandler back to animation in the form of Count Dracula, who had built a hotel for monsters to get away from their troubles while remaining hidden from the human world. The film also featured the voice acting talents of Selena Gomez, Kevin James, and David Spade, among others who would reprise their roles for the next two films. The first Hotel Transylvania turned a sizable profit and has earned three sequels, with the latest, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania said to be the final entry in the successful animated saga. The first three films were helmed by Samurai Jack creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, and were modest hits not only at the box office but with critics as well, who praised the films for their unique comedy and animation style.
But with Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, the franchise lost director Genndy Tartakovsky, as well as stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James. Many of the supporting cast, however, such as Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg, did reprise their roles for the latest entry in the series. With Transformania said to be the final film in the Hotel Transylvania series, here is a ranking of all four films, from worst to best.
4. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022)
The latest film in the Hotel Transylvania series, Transformania offers up some decent fun for younger audiences, as well as some solid chuckles for adults, but the film is sorely missing the presence of Genndy Tartakovsky behind the helm, as well as Adam Sandler as the voice of Dracula. Brian Hull does his best to recreate Sandler’s charismatic energy as the iconic vampire, but no one can replicate that same magic that Sandler possesses, leaving the character feeling much different this time around. With Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska co-directing the fourth installment, Tartakovsky’s signature sense of humor is also lacking from the film, as the comedy is more safe and bland compared to the first three films. The remaining voice cast all do a solid job, but Transformania sadly feels more like a feature-length episode of a Hotel Transylvania spin-off TV series rather than a proper fourth entry in the film series.
3. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
The first Hotel Transylvania film to move outside of the fall release window, Hotel Transylvania 3 takes the shape of a summer animated adventure, and it mostly pays off with what is another really enjoyable film in the franchise, as well as being the highest-grossing Hotel Transylvania film to date. Sandler remains his charismatic self as Dracula and the romance that forms between Dracula and Ericka Van Helsing is both touching and genuinely quite hilarious, as Tartakovsky gets to incorporate a lot more of his zany sense of humor this time around than in the two films prior. It may suffer a little from a weak climax, and Van Helsing doesn’t make for a particularly compelling villain, especially compared to his granddaughter Ericka, but this is still a strong entry in the series, and it gives viewers exactly what they would expect from the films by this point.
2. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
The first film in the Hotel Transylvania series remains a clever spin on the classic Universal monsters, making for some hilarious antics and solid character-building for this first entry. The animated film also gave Adam Sandler and his Happy Maddison crew a solid comeback to comedy after less than stellar films such as Grown Ups and Zookeeper had plagued their careers. Hotel Transylvania contains a solid beating heart at its center, with a touching story of a father recognizing his daughter has grown into a mature young woman and how he comes to terms with this fact of life. What makes this franchise special is not only its unique spin on these classic characters but also the strong themes of family and acceptance that both kids and adults can find compelling. Not every joke lands, and it may be predictable, but the first Hotel Transylvania flick is a strong start for the series and lays the groundwork for the franchise successfully.
1. Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
While the first film laid the groundwork for Adam Sandler’s successful animation franchise, Hotel Transylvania 2 refines the formula and themes of that first film and takes them to another level in a rare sequel that surpasses the original. The film follows Dracula and his gang of lovable monsters as they try to bring out the vampire side of Dracula’s half-human grandson Dennis in a plot to keep Mavis and Jonathan from moving away from the hotel. This sequel speaks to the most important themes of the Hotel Transylvania series, that of inclusion and acceptance of one another. Dracula’s arc in the film is his most endearing and interesting in the series, as he has to come to terms with his grandson perhaps not inheriting his vampire genes.
The Hotel Transylvania films arguably broke Adam Sandler’s bad movie streak and showed that the comedian can still turn in a great and hilarious performance, even in animation, and this is his finest performance as Dracula by far. This is also the funniest of the lot, featuring some really clever gags and comedic set pieces that are to die for, and Mel Brooks’ Vlad is a hilarious and welcome addition to the cast. Hotel Transylvania 2 remains the best in the Hotel Transylvania franchise and the one that proves that Sandler’s comedies can still have depth and compelling themes, despite their more goofy and childish nature.
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