Parental Guidance

Three Animated Monster Movies That Are Better than Hotel Transylvania 3

If you don't want to take your kids to Adam Sandler's animated adventure, here are a few better alternatives you can watch at home.

by | July 13, 2018 | Comments

The animated Hotel Transylvania franchise takes classic movie monsters and makes them kid-friendly, and while Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is the best-reviewed of the bunch so far, it still falls a bit short of its peers in the genre. With that in mind, Christy Lemire offers a breakdown of what to expect if you take the kids to see it, and then suggests three other animated movies about monsters that will probably make for a far more pleasant viewing experience for everyone.


THE MOVIE

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) 62%

Rating: PG, for some action and rude humor.

Monsters and humans: They’re not so different after all! It’s the same fundamental point of the previous two Hotel Transylvania movies, only now they’re making it on a cruise ship. Still, an animated film that teaches kids to embrace others’ differences is always welcome, and especially now. And truthfully, these are some of the best movies we’ve ever seen starring Adam Sandler. Once again, the comedian lends his voice to the lead character of Dracula, who’s burned out from running his hotel for monsters. His daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), surprises him by taking him and all of his family and friends on a cruise getaway. Dracula isn’t thrilled about this idea until he sees the lovely and intriguing Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). But she may have sinister plans in mind for Dracula and his pals as the great-granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), who’s now half man, half machine. As always, the humor is light and the antics are zippy. The characters are all monsters but they’re cute and colorful. (The green, gelatinous Blobby remains my personal favorite.) There’s a crooning sea creature (voiced by Joe Jonas) who may seem scary for very tiny kids, but his character eventually turns goofy like everyone else. Overall, I’d say this is a fine summer escape for kids ages 6 and older.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

If the latest Hotel Transylvania movie has your kids psyched up to see more animated monsters, here are a few suggestions you can share with them:

Monsters, Inc. (2001) 96%

Rating: G

One of the earliest Pixar films and still one of my favorites, it’ll inspire ugly crying during its more poignant developments. (The 2013 prequel Monsters University is a lot of fun, too, but not quite as emotionally deep.) Like the Hotel Transylvania series, Monsters Inc. suggests that seemingly scary creatures are just like us: They drive cars, they go on dinner dates, they go to work. But their job is scaring kids to capture their screams, which provide energy for Monstropolis, a vividly detailed city that looks more than a little like New York. The twist is, the monsters are deathly afraid of the children they scare. Billy Crystal and John Goodman bounce off each other beautifully as Mike and Sully, best friends whose lives get upended when they run into a little girl who isn’t frightened of them. It’s wacky and weird, colorful and crazy, and an excellent choice for the whole family.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) 84%

Rating: PG, for some scary images and action, and brief mild language.

Tim Burton has explored the creative storytelling possibilities of stop-motion animation in a few films, including The Nightmare Before Christmas (as a writer and producer) and the excellent Frankenweenie. But the melancholy sweetness of Corpse Bride gets me every time. It’s also just flat-out gorgeous to look at, with its vividly detailed characters and delightfully macabre settings. Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter lead an all-star cast in this romantic tale of a shy young man who’s torn between the woman his parents have arranged for him to marry and the woman he accidentally marries when she rises from the Land of the Dead. It might seem a little scary for very young kids, but it’s mostly magical. Death and decay abound, but in a playful and often musical way. Great for viewers around 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes


Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) 97%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril.

This dazzlingly beautiful and deeply moving film was one of my favorites of 2016. It’s a traditional hero’s journey with inspired visuals and a starry voice cast. Another twisted offering from the Laika animation house (Coraline, The Boxtrolls), Kubo follows the adventures of a young boy (voiced by Art Parkinson) with the magical ability to bring his vibrant origami creatures to life through music.  But he also must deal with heavy issues at home, including serving as the parent to his depressed mother, a witch warrior. With the help of a monkey named Monkey (Charlize Theron) and a beetle named Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), he goes on a quest to find three crucial pieces of armor that belonged to his late father, a valiant samurai. Like Corpse BrideKubo was created through painstaking stop-motion animation. But it also explores some ideas that may be disturbing for some young viewers. Kubo is in constant peril and under attack by an array of monsters from his earliest days. Among the challenges he must face are a sea of giant eyeballs and a set of creepy twins. There’s also a great deal of wonder here, though, as well as worthwhile themes of bravery and perseverance. Fine for viewers around 8 or 9 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

Valentine's Day Baby Yoda Turner Classic Movies halloween tv 4/20 comic Black History Month Black Mirror Red Carpet First Look indie stop motion child's play NBC franchise Ellie Kemper MCU Amazon Studios Epix Character Guide twilight Box Office SXSW Anna Paquin Teen book Amazon BAFTA slashers 2020 spanish Thanksgiving canceled TV shows superhero PaleyFest Tomatazos Disney HBO CW Seed Nickelodeon Disney Plus ID Vudu Pride Month Infographic Spectrum Originals mission: impossible TLC First Reviews A24 Warner Bros. stand-up comedy war Rocky Stephen King documentaries true crime crime thriller Travel Channel Walt Disney Pictures natural history football Lifetime Christmas movies toy story Photos movie Mary Poppins Returns obituary Mindy Kaling A&E Food Network Best and Worst Television Critics Association Superheroe Nat Geo Women's History Month Freeform psycho serial killer aliens Star Trek Fall TV Cosplay cancelled TV series Marvel Television TCA Awards SundanceTV romantic comedy X-Men chucky Brie Larson Captain marvel Trivia 2018 cancelled TV shows Rock Film Calendar Grammys RT21 DC streaming service critics Apple TV+ sports OneApp robots animated Marvel Studios television mockumentary Emmy Nominations cars joker award winner Drama jamie lee curtis TNT Disney Channel cats Heroines DGA black Opinion travel Mystery Holidays Christmas anime TCA 2017 halloween OWN CBS All Access theme song PBS Set visit zombie name the review BBC America spanish language Musicals Emmys Crunchyroll Winners a nightmare on elm street E3 Television Academy foreign The Witch Super Bowl Disney+ Disney Plus 24 frames USA Network cults CMT Apple TV Plus spain 2019 crime drama AMC Hallmark based on movie christmas movies 45 007 FOX Shudder medical drama Esquire YouTube Red DirecTV sequels Columbia Pictures composers Trailer tv talk renewed TV shows VH1 sag awards asian-american casting mutant Netflix MSNBC FXX TCA Winter 2020 anthology San Diego Comic-Con space Endgame concert Animation emmy awards Starz scary movies stoner Writers Guild of America History harry potter richard e. Grant FX Tarantino Sony Pictures worst movies cops justice league Sundance toronto dark Funimation Binge Guide boxoffice adaptation Song of Ice and Fire comiccon ITV Marathons Creative Arts Emmys CBS criterion docudrama all-time FX on Hulu Awards Tour Pop video USA canceled game of thrones Sundance TV Music cancelled television Certified Fresh Lucasfilm Hulu Pop TV best supernatural TV renewals witnail Tubi festival Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finale australia Toys The Walking Dead LGBT revenge APB rotten movies we love Pirates HBO Max vampires directors children's TV political drama Holiday Podcast spy thriller Classic Film talk show GIFs TV Spring TV discovery nbcuniversal Fantasy binge Schedule free movies Avengers hist blaxploitation reboot diversity independent 21st Century Fox nfl Western Watching Series BBC One Ghostbusters sitcom TV Land Musical facebook TCA movies crossover VOD Film Festival Year in Review technology transformers Chernobyl Adult Swim biography Mary poppins streaming Shondaland TIFF Countdown Sci-Fi CNN social media zombies hispanic crime Nominations Crackle BET Awards Syfy japanese MTV news Premiere Dates Sneak Peek spinoff hollywood Fox News Mary Tyler Moore Trophy Talk Masterpiece comics RT History Disney streaming service Comedy Central DC Comics ratings Fox Searchlight See It Skip It PlayStation Rom-Com worst Election LGBTQ french El Rey ghosts fast and furious YA what to watch Paramount Network screen actors guild Quiz blockbuster The Arrangement President Kids & Family Biopics dceu New York Comic Con Comedy Comics on TV batman WarnerMedia video on demand Arrowverse Pet Sematary disaster dc Comic Book ABC Family Awards politics Elton John singing competition latino festivals Extras dogs 2017 HBO Go dramedy Logo Academy Awards Oscars Reality Competition Reality doctor who screenings Rocketman Country The Purge adventure Dark Horse Comics kids werewolf teaser die hard cinemax IFC National Geographic satire SDCC romance elevated horror Action italian Interview venice classics Summer comic books Turner Lionsgate strong female leads period drama unscripted Winter TV BET historical drama cartoon miniseries IFC Films cooking BBC sequel indiana jones thriller psychological thriller TBS nature Cartoon Network TCM Family Sundance Now Video Games E! south america American Society of Cinematographers Britbox archives universal monsters YouTube zero dark thirty rotten VICE breaking bad 2015 documentary ABC Bravo quibi Amazon Prime Mudbound ESPN Polls and Games 20th Century Fox police drama Netflix Christmas movies 71st Emmy Awards NYCC green book cancelled series Amazon Prime Video YouTube Premium Martial Arts Acorn TV versus Pixar 72 Emmy Awards GoT parents Tumblr game show Cannes spider-man reviews GLAAD science fiction Paramount films The Academy Hear Us Out Ovation dragons scorecard The CW Superheroes DC Universe remakes WGN laika Universal Star Wars Apple Marvel Showtime Lifetime Horror comedies 2016 TruTV Peacock Hallmark Christmas movies golden globes Spike Discovery Channel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt