Hotel Transylvania 2 Movie Review
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
Written by Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel
Release Date: 25 September 2015
Running Time: 89 minutes
Editor’s Rating: 3 Mel Brooks vampires out of 4
Oh no. The film was a smash hit. That wack-a-doodle Happy Gilmore wants to do a sequel, but you can’t bear the thought of being in the same room with him and his giant head for another minute. So you grab some lowly writer and demand that he take this film to task for whatever stupid gags they’re going to be doing again, because you’re not going to be around for it. Then he starts talking to you about the Belmont family, and you resist the urge to destroy him before he can finish the article. “Patience,” you tell yourself. "This portly manbaby is the only thing standing between you and 50 First Dates Part Two."
So, Adam Sandler kind of has an odd track record when comparing his animated works to his live-action stuff. Where the live-action stuff has a rise, a peak somewhere in the late 90s, and then a shrieking plummet into the depths of an eldritch comedy abyss from which only Rob Schneider cackles and bad accents escape, the stuff he lends his voice to is actually pretty solid throughout.
Granted, it’s nowhere near as prolific as the flicks where his mug is front and center, but Eight Crazy Nights and the first Hotel Transylvania were, respectively, good and surprisingly good. Now, he also voiced a monkey in the Kevin-James-fronted-Adam-Sandler-backed Zookeeper, but I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to, so I can’t speak to it. So before I had seen Hotel Transylvania 2, he was going into it batting two for three. After seeing this one, I’m thinking it might be time for him to double-down on animation…
Hotel Transylvania 2 takes place basically a gestation period and just under five years after the events of the first one, a time period usually reserved for straight-to-DVD Disney sequels. You know, the ones where the premise is usually “get the main character laid and then let their kids carry the next 90 minutes?” Welp, guess what’s happening here?
Mavis (Selena Gomez, Dracula’s daughter (ambiguity intended)) and Jonathan (Andy Samberg, dumb stoner human (no ambiguity needed)) have settled down in good ol’ Transylvania and have had themselves a little bundle of ginger curls named Dennis.
The Invisible Man.
Alright, this is the choice they’ve made. Let’s just keep moving and hope that name gets palatable.
So Dennis (bleugh), being a half-vampire, half-human, is the subject of much interest around the castle, and the person who couldn’t be nosier is walking proboscis himself, Grandpa Dracula (Adam Sandler). See, vampires end up getting their fangs, and for some reason, all of their vampire powers, by the age of five. And since he’s half human, it’s up in the air as to if Dennis (*fart noise*) will be a vampire or not, and, guess what age Dennis (hurghk) is getting ready to turn? I smell a plot point cookin’ itself up!
Well, being that Dennis (ack) is almost five, Mavis starts to think that she’s got a normal on her hands, and starts warming up to the idea of her kid living a normal life. However, this could be no further from what Jonathan wants, knowing the humdrum of normal people life and loving his new life in Transylvania. So when Mavis decides to go to Jonathan’s old neighborhood to scout for places to raise little D (a bit better, only threw up in my mouth a little), Drac starts to cook up this harebrained scheme to take Dennis (buurrrrffgh (back to onomatopoeia again)) on a tour of Drac’s favorite places from his childhood with the hope that it will somehow make his fangs drop.
Drac tells Jonathan of this so he can cover Mavis for ol’ gramps and try to convince her that the whitest section of animated California ever put to film is a bad place to raise her half-vampire kid, even though it has no problem doing that itself. So Mavis and Jonathan head out, Drac and friends grab Dennis (mmmnnghghhg) and hit the creepy, forest-lined open road.
While HT 2 is every bit as silly and cute as the original, the most significant niggle I have with it is the way Dracula seems to just kinda get away with everything. Without giving more of the story away, he’s the one that’s making all of the stupid choices in the film, putting his friends and family’s lives in danger several times (over the course of two movies now) without so much as a slap on the wrist.
When it comes time for Mel Brooks’ cameo, just remember that all of the problems happening from that point on are a result of something Drac was too cowardly to do, or something he did because he “knew” he was right. You know, I could probably forgive the completely out-of-character ads and product placements (guys, did you know this was a SONY movie? They make phones and produce music!), and I have forgiven the cheesy dialogue and plethora of puns because, just like alliteration, they set a tone and can be amusing. But gawrsh, Drac being a spoiled brat was something I let slide in the first one because I was having a good time, but for this second go-round, it really just kept prodding me, like a butthole little brother flicking you in the nose while you’re trying to go to bed.
Now, is it completely unwatchable? No, it’s not Pixels. Grab your kids, curl up with some popcorn and Sour Patch Kids and have a nice night.
Just remember that Dracula is a douchebag. But not in real life. The real-life Dracula is a wonderful and merciful master, and I shall serve him in this life and the next. (Please don’t kill me.)
**I rented this film. I was not compensated for this review.**
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