Howdy! Let’s chat about Sony Animation! With the animated movie industry getting more..
*disurbingly monopolized* by Disney every month… And an endless tsunami of Disney live action remakes hitting theaters… I found myself appreciating Sony animation for just offering something.. DIFFERENT! And some competition, for Pete’s sake. At this point, I just feel like, “Sure, give me marketing shill, and dated pop songs! — –At least it’s uniquely Sony Animation!” But with the animation giants of Disney and Dreamworks, Song has often stood as the odd one out. So I wanted to igure out what makes Sony Animation stand out from the crowd. Apart from, you know, just being anything else that isn’t Disney. What are Sony’s most recent successes and most glorious failures? So let’s check out the “Top 5 Worst and Best Modern Sony Animated Movies”! To qualify for this list, I’ll be mentioning Sony Movies from 2013 onwards. Hopefully this will give us a better picture of what Sony Animation is like today. So without further ado, onto the countdown. For the fifth worst…. “Peter Rabbit”  Some people would probably expect.. A certain other movie here… But “Peter Rabbit” didn’t just feel like a defilement of the cinema. It felt like a defilement of someone who’s passed on. The author, Beatrix Potter, would be rising from the dead in fury… If she could see how her character has become like every other live action adaptiation of a cartoon. [Male fox with mid-pitch gravely voice screaming incoherently] Female Hedgehog: Oh yeah… Strider: This is the.. Uh.. Modern, “hip” Peter Rabbit. Who’s all about stealing vegetabes from Mr. McGreggor’s garden. While being the coolest, most pompous and vehemently annoying rabbit in history. Peter: You get your own character flaw! Come on Benjamin. Female rabbit: Why does he get to go? Benjamin: Yeah! Why do I have to go in? Peter: Because that’s his character flaw. Strider: It’s set up with the usual “Man vs the cute/fuzzy animals plot,” but with a small issue. Thomas McGreggor inherited his uncle’s manor and garden. And thus, also inherted the infestation of Peter Rabbit. With Thomas’ only desire to sell the manor to start his toy store and leave. Now he’s up against Peter Rabbit for the crime of..
Not wanting a rabbit to ruin his garden. Oh.. How dare he? What a monster? (*With no enthusiasm*) Take that McGreggor! That’ll teach you for not wanting property damage! When Elmer Fudd was blown up by Bugs Bunny… At least he was getting his comeuppance for trying to attack Bugs in the first place. But here, it just feels like Peter is repeatedly trying to murder Thomas for protecting his property. This scene in particular sparked some heavy outrage against the movie. Many calling this scene allergy bullying? As it was seen as mocking people with deadly allergies. While I don’t personally feel it did that, this scene does make one thing very clear about Peter Rabbit. He’s willing to kill for his veggies. And not having a single care for murdering McGreggor. While nowhere else in the movie did I actually like Peter, this really was the point of no return. McGreggor’s actions feel completely justified. I want him to win, I want his to turn this thing into rabbit stew. The whole thing just kinda makes me miss Judy from Zootopia. A rabbit I’d much rather give a carrot to. And for the fifth best… “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatbals 2”  For those who don’t know the original movie’s story… The scientist, Flint Lockwood, creates a device that can turn water into food… But goes haywire, partially due to the greed of others. And partially because Flint can be pretty spineless and swayed by others. In “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2″… Flint is scouted by Live Corp. A scientific organization it’s been his dream to work with. Why he wouldn’t want to remain freelance and run his own business is beyond me, but hey. Each to their own. He could already solve World Hunger quite easily and be his own boss. Maybe he thinks he’ll do more good for the world in an organization. Well, I can respect that. And after he’s forced to leave his home island, he sets out with his friends on an expedition! To return to the isalnd and stop his still working device from creating monstrous food life! However, I don’t think “Cloudy 2” ever quite captures the imagination and story telling of the original. But honestly, to me, this did feel like the natural route for Flint to progress. He progresses from a successful science experiment to joining a modern science development team. But in terms of aesthetic and artistry, I actually prefer “Cloudy 2.” The first film has the gimmick of “It’s food, but bigger.” Which is fine, but it does get stale after a while. Especially when we’re living in a world where we actually have food this big in real life. Jeebus, the modern world is bizarre. Anyway… This time the story is something more out of a “Godzilla/King Kong” film. Think, say, “Kong: Skull Island.” Except with all the creatures as food-based plants. Sam: Fla-mangos! Brent: Shrimpanzees! Earl: Those are some tasty looking jellyfish! Sam: That’s just a tomato. Strider: I also like the villain better than the original. Chester V. I think Chester almost works as a commentary on corporations. Who find young, bright-eyed, talented people… And then try to use their creativity, passion, and talent fo their own ends. And the police officer Earl steals the show once again! In the original, he was played by Mr. T! Yup, that’s right. “I pity the fool!” He was replaced by Terry Crews, who captures not only Earl’s tough quality, but his loving nature far closer. Earl: It’s enough to make a grown man cry… But not this man! Get back in there tear. Strider: So while the film has a lot of imagination… It still does have a few short-comings carried over from the first movie. Brent and Steve the monkey still feel pretty unnecessary. I mean, I get they’re meant to be comic relief… But when everybody in the cast is comic relief, they have no identity. Not to mention the movie creates another comic relief character named Berry. Who is, of course, a living strawberry. But to me, the biggest hinderance to the film is actually Flint himself. The LEAD character! Which is never a particularly good sign. This time, he’s just ridiculously easily swayed by whoever talks to him at any given point in the film. Which makes him come off as incredibly flip-floppy in terms of personality and motivation. And over-all, just a spineless dweeb. Flint: Wait! Sam! Wait, please! No! No, Sam, come back! Come back, Sam! No! Flint even abandons his dad, who’s finally giving him the approval he wanted! Well, at least his dad gets these pickle things. Over-all, while I felt the sequel had its funny moments… It felt like its main quality was just its visuals. But when the main character is just this much of a flaky, spineless twerp… It’s hard to give it a full pass. For the fourth worst… “The Star”  Hm…. As you might have guessed, based on the Christian story of Jesus. We follow a donkey named Beau, with great aspirations to become part of the royal caravan. But who is humbled on his journey to carry Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Yeah, that’s right, we’re going there. Well, let’s dive in feet first, shall we? I’ll try and be as tollerant as possible. While I don’t think this could ever be an interesting story ‘cuz of the 100’s of 1000’s of times it’s been repeated… We do get a kind of interesting perspective here. Because we see the birth from the animal’s perspective. Which is.. Kinda different? Okay, it’s not necessarily original, but it’s engaging enough. And certain aspects of it work out pretty well. On the animals’ side, Beau is a likeable enough donkey, and his friend Dave is a very supportive Dove. Who can dance! Also, I really like donkeys. That’s my main selling point of the film here. I like donkeys. And honestly, it’s nice to see that Dave is just a legitimate, nice best friend. He doesn’t have to go through some stupid character arc where he stops being selfish. He’s just pleasant from start to end. Dave: Look, you lead the way, and wherever you go, your best friend Dave will be right behind you. There’s also a lot of humanity in Mary and her relationship with Joseph. They’re very grounded characters, and do a good few laughs within their dynamic. I actually feel like these two could be enough to carry the movie on their own. I mean, it’s certainly a more modern, Egalitarian relationship than the 2000 year old story it’s based on… But in this case, I’m actually kind of glad to see it deviating from the source material. But unfortunately, Mary, Joseph, Beau, and Dave being interesting characters… Is all over-shadowed by The Star’s hinderances that plague it. Heh heh.. Plague. For one thing, there is way too many characters. The film tacks on so many that it’s ridiculous. The worst being the camels of the wise men. These camels are just remarkably annoying. They have one single gag repeatedly done though the film’s run time. One camel says something wrong, the other says something wrong…. And the Oprah camel, actually voiced by Oprah Winfrey, says a correct thing and the other two mock her. Rinse & repeat. They definitely feel like they were plomped in this movie for the kids. Camel 1: What’re they saying? Camel 2: Shh! I-Ican’t make it out, but it’s something about the King of the.. Shoes? Camel 1: King of the Shoes? Strider:The main antagonist is also pretty uninteresting, and doesn’t fit the story too well. He’s just some big brute that’s tasked to hunt down Mary + Joseph, & he’s not scary, interesting, or entertaining. This is arguably the most experimental Sony has ever gotten. Because when doing a project based on religious content, it’s.. eh… Gonna be reviewed more critically by at least 30% of America. Especially when they’re trying to sell that religious story to kids. But hey, props for having the guts to make this movie at all. And for the fourth best… “The Smurfs: The Lost Village” When it comes to Smurfs films, Sony hasn’t exactly given them the utmost care. You have the 2011 Smurfs movie… Which feels little more than the generic, unfunny concept of throwing them into modern day normality. Usually New York for some reason. And in 2013, we got a sequel. And it was yet more of the same. There was even gonna be a third instalment, but, it got cancelled. Ironically, it actually sounded like the most original of the three. Hank Azaria, who played Gargamel… Said the third film might deal with the origin story of how all the characters met. We may have been Smurfed out, but Sony wasn’t Smurfed out yet! No, they opted to reboot the franchise entirely… With a comppletely animated film that would explore the origins of the Smurfs. But this time, we got a new take on the characters. And the art direction more closely followed the original artwork of the Smurfs creator, Peyo. (Fake shock) My! What a novel concept! Taking the franchise you bought, and actually making it look like it originally did! (Even more fake shock) Not butchering it’s animation!? What sorcery is this? So when 2017 came by and we got “Smurfs: The Lost Village”… We were given a story based on Smurfette. Who was actually originally not a Smurf. In fact, she was created by their nemesis Gargamel from a lump of clay. Who was then to be used as a spy
against the Smurfs, but…. The kindness of the Smurf village redeemed Smurfette’s heart making her a true Smurf. Jeebus, I hate this franchise. But I do appreciate that this time Sony made it pretty clear that the movie’s aimed at a younger audience. And I guess that’s a step in the right direction for the franchise. Because apparently, kids actually care about Smurfs. And not just nostalgic adults like me. And even if the story still felt haphazard to me… It’s clear the writers were trying a lot harder than the original two movies. And I do respect that effort. Anyway, the film puts a surprising amount of analysis into questioning– “Where does Smurfette exactly fit into the world?” And I applaud the Smurfs franchise for attempting actual reflection. She’s not exactly a Smurf, but she kind of is at the same time. As you would know, in the Smurf franchise… All the Smurfs are defined by a generic trait that becomes their name and core character. For example, Hefty is strong! Clumsy is… Clumsy: I just ate all my rations! Strider: …A fumbling goof. Brainy is… A self-congratulatory twerp who’s kind of a little smarter but mostly just annoying. The film asks, “Smurfette, what’s your generic character trait?” “I can’t categorize you into a box if I can’t define you by your name.” But to be fair, “The Lost Village” does explore the idea of identity with far more depth than the original series did. We get this kind of buddy road trip story. All while the Smurfs are being hunted by Gargamel in this adventure. They find the lost village of Smurfs is inhabited entirely by women. Then the two villages come together to fend off Gargamel. I have to admit that the animation of The Lost Village is definitely a step up from the previous movies. And performances like Rainn Wilson as Gargamel really do steal the spotlight. Grouchy: What are you doing here!? Gargamel: Oh, well I was just thinking of getting a little place out here. Just a.. Quiet place in the forest. It’s a little breezy up on the hil–
WHAT DO YOU THINK I’M DOING OUT HERE!? Strider: So with that, The Lost Village is more tollerable than the originals. However, it still felt kind of cliche and pretty uninspired to me. The majority is biting off bits and pieces of the live actions films and regurgitating them into this… Fully animated one. Which is no surprise, they’re working with Smurfs. There’s only so much they can do. Sony parody: Oh, I can feel it! I can feel the power! For the third worst…. “Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania”  With the WWE wanting to expand their branch to a whole new generation of kids… Many animated franchises started promoting them. Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, The Flintstones… Each one had a handful of wrestlers guest star in really bizarre direct to DVD movies. And Surf’s Up got this treatment too. And made all the wrestlers into… Extreme Sports Loving Penguins. Except for Vince McMahon, who’s an otter who drinks fish. Or as he says….
[Caution warning: Disturbing imagery until 14:10] Otter Vince: I just wish you could.. Milk a fish. Strider: I’m never gonna get that out of my head. WaveMania follows Cody from the first movie as he meets his heroes. The Hang-5 *EXTREME* Sports Penguins! Who are out to surf the biggest wave, at the coolest surf spot! Known as.. The Palisade! The Hang-5 are also using the trip to pick
Vince McMahon’s replacement. And wouldn’t you know it, the wrestlers pick Cody and his friends to come along. And prove who among them is worthy to be part of
The Hang-5! But you know, when you compare this movie to time traveling wrestlers, and Stone-Age wrestlers… The surfing/wrestling Penguin movie is actually pretty tame, and straightforward by comparison. It’s essentially your typical road trip story. And admittedly, it’s executed fine. As Cody is challenged to gauge… If all these deranged, dangerous, & demented stunts is worth leaving his friends… Home, and his morals behind! All for just.. A title! Cody: This is what I’ve always wanted! To be remembered as a surfing legend, somebody respected. You know, like a real winner! And the wrestlers actually voice the penguins. Which some might expect to be a disaster… But I was actually surprised by how seemlessly they lend their voices. John Cena and The Undertaker both play up their cartoonish extremes wrestling personas here. Penguin Cena: We’re trained professionals. Some of us with huge muscles! I’m not gonna say who, that would be bragging. Undertaker Penguin: Almost lost my lunch. Strider: Over-all, WaveMania definitely isn’t the most.. inspiring ride of a movie. But it’s steady enough and carries enough heart to maybe be worth a peak for wrestling fans. And for the third best… “Hotel Transylvania 2”  I consider the Hotel Transylvania movies to be some of Adam Sandler’s finest work. Hotel Transylvania as a whole gives us an exceptional balance of fast-paced sharp comedy… While also having surprisingly real feeling fleshed out characters. And with Hotel Transylvania 2… That same beautiful animation, comedy, and relateable characters are all still there. The plot of this one focues around Mavis and Johnathan having a child named Dennis. And they’re concerned that Dennis being born human means that… Being within the Monster world is a bit too dangerous. So the idea is that they’re gonna move him to the suburbs. Dracula, however, is, of course concerned with losing his daughter. As well as his grandchild. But frankly, I like him as a doting father figure. Not only to Mavis, but also to Dennis as a grandfather. While the humor does have its gimmicky moments… Dracula: If I show you I can bust a move, will you try to fly then? Strider: It’s mostly fast-paced with very detailed, very telling facial expressions And the characterization is even further expanded from the previous film. Plus the acting is really on point here. Like, personally, I feel Dracula was the role Sandler was born to play. It’s like Kelsey Grammar and Sideshow Bob. You just can’t imagine another person in that role. You can even tell just from his delivery of the
“bleh-bluh-bleh” joke alone. It’s just so natural. Where the film does run out of gas is more in the delivery of the story. The fact that Dracula wants them to stay in the castle and wants a vampire grandchild… Shows that he still has a bitch of prejudice towards humans. And this actually works well to demonstrate the movie’s anti-prejusice message within the movie’s trilogy. And most of us can probably see from older relatives or sometimes even parents… Prejudice can take time to get over. But throughout the film, Dracula does say to Dennis that he doesn’t care what he is and still loves him. Dracula: I told you. Papa’s always here for you. Dennis: Again! Again! Strider: Despite saying this though… The movie basically invites the angry, racist grand-uncle over for Thanksgiving at the last minute. And this is basically just so Dennis can reveal he’s a Dhampir. A human with the powers of a Vampire. So Drac still gets the vampire grandson he always wanted… Which undercuts the message of “I will love you no matter what.” “But you turned out to be the thing I wanted, so, that’s a win for both of us I guess. To quote an old friend, I suspect Sandler and the writers were up against a wall with this one. Perhaps Sandler just finally threw up his hands & said… “Oh, why don’t we give everyone exactly what they want?” Over-all, I call this one of the best Sony Animated movies purely for being in the Hotel Transylvania universe. But over-all, I felt it was the weakest of the three
Hotel Transylvania movies. Dracula: Yeah, listen, if you think I don’t like it… You definitely don’t want to say “bleh-bluh-bleh” in front of my father! Strider: And the second worst Sony Animated movie is… “The Emoji Movie”  Eugh.. Talk about a dead on arrival movie. Before this movie had even hit theaters, its advertising campaign had lovely inclusions like… Patrick Stewart as poop… With a clear swearing reference shown right out the gate. Not that there’s anything wrong with swearing, but… It just gives a very clear picture of the sort of bare bones, generic, and lazy story-telling we’re in for. So should we really have been that surprised when the story of a Meh-Emoji failing to be Meh… Didn’t turn out to be engaging in the slightest. Gene: Okay. You can do this. (*Screams*) I can’t do this! I can’t do it! Probably not, but what really gets under my skin is the movie’s sheer disregard…. To be anything other than a terrible meme of itself It’s every cold, corporate inclusion of cringe potty-humor… Shameless advertising & handfisted Internet culture jokes! Many of which feel like they were added purely so that people could rage about it online. The Emoji movie isn’t trying to be anything more than what it shows on its poster. It’s.. Just Emojis. I do actually think that’s a shame though. Because I think there was a potential for something much greater here. I mean, what if the Emoji Movie told us the engaging story on how people could better communicate? In an age where so much of our communication has become abbreviated… What if the movie discusses a more on how people could better communicate their feelings in modern day? The idea of us embracing the future! That emojis, our new form of communication, can be a vehicle to better communicating with one another! Or.. We could just do poop jokes? Yeah, I guess we’re going with that. (*Both laughing*)
Patrick Stewart: No, no, no. We’re number 2! Strider: And the second BEST Sony Animated Movie is… “The Angry Birds Movie 2”  So.. To me anyway, the first Angry Birds movie like an.. Actual “Angry Birds” movie in the final act. Because it was only then they finally started tossing the birds about to battle the pigs. Also, some birds had some magical bird powers.. Anyway, Angry Birds 2 already had that out of the gate, and, thankfully… It feels like an Angry Birds movie beginning to end. Except the sequel sets up a much bigger spectacle story. Our main Angry Bird, Red, is claimed a hero from the end of the previous film. However, a third island emerges, and it is an onslaught of ice balls on the pigs! And birds! King Leonard of the, uh.. Pig Kingdom… Decides it would be in their best interest for pigs and birds to put aside their differences… And form a truce, in order for them to defeat their true enemy! That being Zeta, an Ice Bird on the Ice Island called Eagle Island. I think this was a smart follow-up, because we’re introduced to Red’s insecurities throughout the plot. With Red being skeptical of not only the truce not working… But concerns of with the truce working, people won’t need him anymore. To be a hero against the pigs. Which is an understandable fear since no one cared about Red in the first film until he became a hero. Will Red lose his identity, or will he adapt and grow with the times? All that good jazz ensues. The idea is pretty similar to Ralph Breaks the Internet. Where Ralph is afraid if Vanelope moves on, he’s gonna lose the only friend he’s ever had. Leading him to become clingy. I could also compare the Mushu story from Mulan II, but uh.. The less said about that film the better. But Ralph and Angry Birds 2 are examples of characters who become their own villain. By not being able to adapt and grow as the world changes around them. Unfortunately, Red’s Journey is pretty poorly handled. Often Red comes off as overly abrasive. Talking down to others to try and keep his status. And even risking the mission to save everyone just so he can have some glory. When you compare them, Ralph fell into doing wrong out of desperation over time. Red is just a jerk from the get go and just always stays a jerk until he’s humble. Female Blue Bird: Oh, Red.. So you did all of this becuse you were afraid of not being liked? (Red stammers) Red: Yes. There’s also a kind-of gimmicky B-Plot of a trio of young birds lose some unhatched eggs. And the film repeatedly cuts back and forth between these two stories. And at no point do these two stories join up or feel connected. The B-Plot would have been fine as a mni-episode before the movie or even as a DVD extra. But it felt just dropped into the main film to pad out the movie. And padding could definitely explain the rather distracting amount of stock pop-culture songs that kick up every couple of minutes. And honestly, some of them don’t even fit. Like when they play “I Need a Hero” within the first 5 minutes. But I gotta say, even with all that… Angry Birds 2 still delivers some very funny jokes. Subverts expectations by having the Pigs and birds work together… With no betrayal twist… And simply made a solid Angry Birds movie. And before we get to number one, just a quick Honorable Mention. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”  I disgussed this a lot in my best 2019 Animated Movies, so I decided to keep it as an honorable mention. It has a beautifully stylized animation design, meaningful character interactions… And cements itself as an unforgettable addition to the franchise. Definitely it’s among, if not the best Sony Animated Movie. But I didn’t want to repeat myself. So onto the other number 1. And the number 1, worst Sony Animated Movie is… “Open Season: Scared Silly” [2015 direct-to-DVD] I have to mention the single most boring, aimless, and aesthetically ugly movie of the bunch. “Open Season: Scared Silly” the fourth in this story quadrilogy of a bear and a deer with one antler quadrilogy of a bear and a deer with one antler getting into wacky shenanigans in the woods! And in each movie, the actors get so fed up that they trade them out for new ones. To quickly summarize, “Open Season” was about a bear named Boog… He lived domesticated his whole life with a caring owner, until a deer named Eliot got him booted into the woods. Then he’s rabidly pursued by crazy hunters! “Open Season 2” was a roadtrip rescue… And “Open Season 3” was basically “The Prince and the Pauper” And in the end, Boog and his girlfriend and Elliot had a family. But “Scared Silly” threw that all out the window to retcon itself as a.. Halloween Edition of “Open Season.” No mention of family or girlfriends… But now we have the gang helping Boog get over his fear of the.. Wailing Whompus Werewolf… Seriously? And if that wasn’t bad enough… The entire story is based on Eliot just making stuff up about the werewolf… As he leads the gang on a hunt for it! Which means we get a lot of disconnected comedy which has no connection to any other parts. And it becomes a draining slog to sit through the movie… Just waiting for it to.. HAVE A POINT! Open Season didn’t look that appealing as a franchise to begin with! But some of these human models arejust downright hideous! I mean, why would they specifically make Canadians look so repulsive? Shaw: Howdy, Ed and Edna! Edna: Oh! Shaw! Good day, eh? Hey! You haven’t lived ’til you’ve tried our poutine on the rits! Strider: And Eliot is such an annoying jerk in this movie! He’ll even destroy his best friend’s prized possession! He’ll even eat and slowly chew on squirrel poo! Eliot: CODE BROWN! Code Brown! Strider: “Open Season: Scared Silly” captures everything that is aggravating about the franchise! Namely that Eliot is a just terrible character! With not a single redeemable thing about him! But can you really expect much from a frachise that began its quadrilogy.. on *this*!? (Sound of Eliot’s droppings landing on the ground) Eliot: I can’t remember. Strider: And I think the number one, best Sony Animated Movie is…. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”  This is probably the only good Sony Animated three-quel I’ve ever seen! Yet alone, great! And it’s essentially just.. more of the last 2’s wackiness, except they’re on a cruise! Yet this movie series manages more scenes of polish with every sequel! And it’s kept simple all the way through. More than ever, the character motivations are completely understandable. And the build-up & excitement are top notch. They even do a fun turning of the tables… Where Mavis is the one trying to shelter her dad from a relationship she’s worried about. And I think we very rarely see that sort of story in animation. Basically, the Transylvania crew all decide to go on a cruise, and Dracula falls in love with a vampire hunter. And that premise alone had me chuckling in the trailers. And moments like the garlic scene are freaking brilliant. Dracula: Must’ve been garlic.. eh.. in the guacamole. Vampire Hunter: Oh no! Isn’t that deadly for you!? (Dracula passes gas) Strider: The comedy is polished, and toned to be just right. I gotta be honest, in a very interesting, visceral way, this movie exceeds the entertainment value for the children… Of a movie like “Coco.” Seriously, I saw all three of the Hotel Transyvania movies in crowded theaters… And the kids absolutely adored all three of these movies! The kids were engrossed in their theater seats, and relatively quiet through the whole thing! Which is weird, because when I saw “Coco”… The kids were running up and down the aisles absolutely bored stiff… Even though I could hear adults sniffing back tears by the guitar song scene. The kids were gong feral by that point! It was downright ugly! So I dunno, even though Pixar movies are obviously of a much higher caliber… I feel like Sony was connecting more strongly with their child audience for these three movies. The kids were entertained. And part of that secret is that there’s a pocket full of high energy, colourful, purely kid-pleasing moments. But I still found myself enjoying it in spite of these moments. I was just curious about how each Hotel Transylvania character spent their time on the cruise. What did they get up to? Who’d they interact with? Did they bring their kids? And all the way, it throws in both kids and adults unexpected surprises to keep us on our toes. Papa Wolf: Oh well. It’s better than nothing. Strider: I also really felt the relateability of Dracula’s story just as much as ever. And I’ve liked that they’ve taken the story in a new direction. Him being uncertain of himself… And him wondering if he was a bad husband because he’s trying to move on from his wife. And that seems very much like a relateable scenario for a middle-age divorced or widowed father. When he zings with another woman, he’s asking himself “Does this make [me] a bad person?” This sort of self-reflection is freaking brilliant to see in a Sony Family Movie! These are real questions people ask themselves when working through loss and grief! And we’re hearing it all from cartoon Dracula! But you know what, there’s a lot of single people out there who are divorced or even widowed. And they certainly deserve a reminder that they’re allowed to be happy. And it certainly doesn’t have the stumbling third act the second film had. In fact, the third act is explosive in just how memorable and big scope it is! I like all the characters, I understood all their motivations… And I was excited to see how they spent their time on the cruise! I felt like I was vacationing right along with them! And that’s exactly how I wanted this movie to feel. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” is unabashedly fun! And it knows exactly what it is! It tried to give me a fun respite, and romp, with some characters I enjoy, while keeping the kid entertained. And that’s exactly what it did. And I enjoyed it. Dracula: Two eyes, or three eyes… Witch: Green skin. Skeleton: No skin. Spike Monster: Prickly. Floating Brain: Brainy. Strider: And it’s worth pointing out… That Sony has an uphill battle to stay relevant in these modern times. While I’m certainly not excusing things like The Emoji Movie… Sony is generally working with less than half the budget of a Pixar or Disney movie. And they certainly can’t guarantee anything with the box office returns that *anything* with the Disney logo can. This means that we’ve seen them make some safer bets sometimes that shareholders are more likely to agree with. But I feel like with some exceptions, Modern Sony Animation teams really do try with what resources they have. And within the limited safe-scope their Shareholders will allow. They’re mostly trying to make something special. And you know what, regardless of how many crass poop jokes it might have… At least it’s Sony’s own unique take on modern animation. And in an age of endless eye-rolling Disney remakes… I appreciate that now more than ever. Good or bad, sometimes we just need some variety and competition. So I’m glad that Sony movies are there, if just for that. And if you have an opinion of your own on these movies… It’d be great to hear what you think. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments below. And as always, thanks for watching! And I’ll see you next time! [Subtitled by Jadrek Myers. Commission by Phantom Strider]