I loved the first Hotel Transylvania film; it showcased stellar animation, great voice acting, excellent comedic timing, genuinely touching moments, and a great twist on horror classics of the old days. In short, it’s a new Halloween classic for me. When I heard they were making a sequel, I ranted about the existence of sequels for 20 minutes and then I watched the movie. Hotel Transylvania 2 is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and written by Robert Smigel and Adam Sandler (uh oh). Stars: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, and Kevin James. Premise-Soon after getting married, Mavis and Johnathan have a child. However, a concerned Dracula desires to raise their child to be a monster instead of a human to carry on the Count bloodline.
The first problem I want to address is the fact that the screenplay was written by Adam Sandler, and considering the last movie he wrote was Grown Ups 2 (shudder), I’m glad to say that this movie is nowhere near the quality of that abomination. However, there are a few problems with the story that I want to address. The first being Count Dracula’s Father, Vlad. He shows up in the movie at about the 70 minute mark, and he doesn’t really add much drama or character to the story. He felt kind of tacked-on, not to mention his character is the result of a cliché. You know the one, “the father who never accepted what his son liked to do, thusly feeling disappointed in him.” I’ve seen this cliché everywhere, so why do writers still think it would make an enthralling character? Speaking of wasted potential, there is a surprising number of supporting characters who hardly get any screen time or focus. Seriously, Frankenstein, Murray, even Johnathan don’t get nearly as much dialog or screen time for any character development (or jokes for that matter) as they did in the first movie. They get the bare minimum, but that’s all. There are also some absolutely ridiculous character decisions that completely took me out of the experience (I can’t explain because of spoilers). Aside from some jokes falling flat, there is one more peculiar thing I disliked about this movie, the product placement. As I should expect with any movie made by Sony, there are a ton of Sony product placement. Although the product placement in this movie is not as rampant or annoying as it was in Jurassic World, seeing a Sony phone or computer in every other scene is very jarring, particularly in a cartoon.
I feel like I’m relentlessly bashing this movie, but I did in fact enjoy this movie very much. The main reason is because of the animation. It is just as fast-paced and energetic as it was in the first movie, and there are a few sight gags they pull off that made my day on the spot! The world building is also incredible. We see how life has been since humans and monsters made amends in the last movie, and we get some interesting backstory on Dracula and Johnathan in the process. Most of the jokes are hilarious, and Dennis, just, wow. This kid is awesome! The voice actor they got to play him (Asher Blinkoff) was spot-on, his design is heart meltingly adorable, and his dialog was written perfectly. However, the best thing about this movie is the climax. Even though the buildup to it felt forced (due to the last-minute introduction of Vlad), it is still fantastic. I can’t go into detail because if you watch this movie, you will not see it coming. Just believe me when I say that it ends the movie on a very high note.
Thank God this movie is good! I don’t think I can handle four atrocious Adam Sandler movies in one year (though we’ll see how The Ridiculous 6 turns out). If I were to sum up this movie in one sentence, it would be as follows. “It may not be a step up on its predecessor, but Hotel Transylvania 2 still has the charm, humor, and top notch animation to provide an enjoyable post summer viewing.” Hotel Transylvania 2 gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B-. Also, someone must have listened to me when I said Rotten Tomatoes’ rating of The Visit should be higher, because it is now at a fresh 61%. Hooray!!!