Well before I ever saw a single one of the Todd Durham-created, Genndy Tartakovsky-directed Hotel Transylvania films, I knew that Drac doesn’t say “blah blah blah blah.” Which is to say that the influence in pop culture had grown widely enough that I had a sense of the series well before fatherhood and enough to know upon reaching that life milestone that my child would likely dig it. Though the jury remains out on the first two films (my eldest has no memory of watching the second installment), the third (Summer Vacation) delighted him and, as of this writing, has no comment on the fourth. (My feelings on both Summer Vacation and Transformania are already public.) Needless to say, these films can each easily be written off as another Adam Sandler project in which he got to work with so many of his friends (the dream) and get paid for it. Yet, along the way, one can’t deny that there’s also plenty of heart to be found within each, even if you have to dig through quite a bit to get there. If you’re the sort that has enjoyed most if not all of these efforts, you can now own all four films in physical formats with a digital copy to go along with it, including legacy features for the first three and new ones for Transformania.
After centuries of escaping from hordes of humans, the monsters of the world found a respite via Count Dracula’s (voiced by Sandler in the first three, Brian Hull in the fourth) monsters-only hotel. There, not only did Dracula provide a home-away-from-home for his friends and fellow creatures, he also was able to raise his daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez), his desire to protect only increased since the passing of his wife. However, everything changed for Dracula and his family when a human backpacker named Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) appeared on his doorstep. Across the four films, Mavis and Johnny have fallen in love and had a child, turning Dracula’s life upside down each time, and Drac’s even fallen back in love. With each trial, with each conflict, rather than breaking them apart, the Drac Pack has only gotten stronger.
When it comes to the Hotel Transylvania series, it’s safe to say that they please the intended audience wonderfully. They’ve got colorful characters, plenty of body humor/horror, and enough wackiness that kids are able to stay focused for the average 90-minute duration. There’s a wholesome quality to each one as they explore the ins and outs of being an outsider, offering universal lessons that say, “hey, even centuries-old monsters haven’t got things figured out.” Is there a bit of redundancy between the third and fourth outings? Yes. Do aspects of the fourth ring a little more hollow than the third? Also yes. However, this is the kind of thing adults notice and potentially life-long fans of the series are more likely to forgive. I do find it interesting how the Hotel Transylvania series tackles themes to start conversations with young audiences, but the films themselves don’t age-up with the audiences like in the similarly targeted series How to Train Your Dragon (2010 – 2019). I mention this because the Dragon films acknowledge that the audiences of the first are older and so make the concepts and themes appropriately challenging. With the Hotel Transylvania series, no attempt to do that is made. There’s nothing especially wrong with that as not all children’s entertainment *needs* to challenge its audience, but this is possibly part of the reason why the films are enjoyed as well as they are by audiences, but aren’t as cherished as other family-targeted animated franchises.
As someone who likes to own what I enjoy as it’s harder for companies to delete something from my collection when I have a physical copy, I’m glad that Transformania is receiving a physical edition about 20 months after its streaming release on Prime Video. Not all of the films that get sold to streamers have received a physical edition and streamers rarely put their films on physical media, so this is a great development. Do keep in mind, however, that there are two options for owning the full collection on physical media, which I’ll break down for you.
In order to own the full collection in a physical format, your options are to purchase the previously available three-film Blu-ray collection and Transformania on Blu-ray *or* the newly available four-film DVD collection. In both cases (solo Transformania Blu or DVD collection) a digital copy that works with MoviesAnywhere is included, so at least all of your digital editions will be in the same HD presentation. That said, if you’ve been waiting to have them all in one place, the DVD edition is both compact and simple. Outside of the slipcover duplicating the liner art, inside is a card with four individual digital codes (one for each film) and each DVD stacked on top of each other. Adding to the oddity, when I opened the review copy, the films weren’t in release or reverse release order as one might presume, but 2, 3, Transformania, and Hotel Transylvania (bottom-to-top). My guess is that’s because only the first film’s disc is decorated in any way with Transformania possessing only a slightly more complicated disc design. Otherwise, there’s nothing special or unique about this set beyond having all four animated adventures in one place.
With streamers deleting files from their services and Disney declaring that they aren’t going to provide physical media versions of their films to Australia, it’s starting to feel a little uncertain out there when it comes to home entertainment and owning the films we enjoy. So while the DVD collection isn’t particularly spectacular, more of a “thud” than a “bang” for the ending of a series, it’s at least something that fans can possess and pass down. These are family films, after all, and just like Drac passes down the hotel to Mavis in Transformania, at least with these disc, those who have fallen in love with these characters will have something they, too, can pass down when they create spawn with whom they can share these adventures. Like a hotel nestled in the treacherous mountains of Transylvania, it’s not much, but at least it’s something.
Hotel Transylvania Four-Film Collection Special Features:
Hotel Transylvania Legacy Features:
- Deleted Scenes
- “Goodnight Mr. Foot” short
- “Problem (Monster Remix)” music video
Hotel Transylvania 2 Legacy Features:
- Deleted Scenes
- Throw the Ultimate Monster Party!
- Make The Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2
- How to Draw Your Favorite Characters
- Meet the New Characters – Animation Progressions
- “I’m in Love with a Monster” music video
- Monster Lullaby Scary-OKE Sing Along With Dennisovitch!
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Legacy Features:
- Monster Mania Mode
- Original Shorts!
- Monster Activities!
- All New Scary-Oke Sing Alongs!
- Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along With Denisovitch!
- Lyric Videos
- Behind the Scenes
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
- Monster Pets: A Hotel Transylvania Short
- Monster Mash-Up: Making Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
- Hotel Transyl-Trivia
- Monster Box Challenge
- “Love Is Not Hard to Find” Music Video
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania available on Blu-ray and digital August 15th, 2023.
Hotel Transylvania four-film DVD collection and digital August 15th, 2023.
For more information, head to Sony Pictures’s official Hotel Transylvania webpage.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.