“Hotel Transylvania 2” (2015) Film Review
Posted 17th May, 2017
Written by Jambareeqi
In this sequel to Adam Sandler’s horror comedy “Hotel Transylvania”, Dracula’s daughter Mavis and her human husband Johnny have just had a new baby called Dennis; but Dracula is concerned about the child’s Vampire genes and wants to make sure that his grandson will be passing on the bloodsucker bloodline.
Unfortunately, Mavis feels that Dennis is more human than Vampire and wants to move to a human civilisation. So, while Mavis and Johnny go check out Johnny’s hometown to see if it’s a good new home, Drac and his Monster friends try to train Dennis to become vampire.
I personally found the first “Hotel Transylvania” film to be obnoxiously chaotic and thought it relied too much on the cliche Liar’s act to tell it’s story; but I also really liked Mavis’ cute romance with a human and her genuinely touching bond with her father. So yeah, my feelings on the first film are mixed and scattered, but I lean more towards disliking it because it’s annoying scenes outweigh it’s sincere dramatic moments. This sequel is certainly more tolerable than it’s predecessor, but it’s not exactly a stellar upgrade.
I do have to praise the movie for being much less frantic and exhausting than the original. It tames it’s pacing, controls it’s energy and actually has a sense of self discipline. It still retains the cartoony animation style that comes with your usual Genndy Tartakovsky project; it’s just that it’s actually got a pause button this time. I have to say that many of the film’s jokes land frequently, simply because the movie’s more restrained tone helps it to pace out each gag’s setup, build up and pay off. Sure, some of the jokes are a little lame or repetitive, but most of them are much better executed than the first film’s.
However, I can’t say that the overall narrative is a huge improvement on the first; because it’s rather lacklustre. The first half of the movie has two separate plots going on, Dracula & Friends teaching Dennis to be a Vampire and Mavis exploring a potential new place to live in outside Hotel Transylvania. Dracula’s plot has the same gag over and over again; The gang try to demonstrate their monster moves to inspire Dennis, but are too old to perform. While Mavis’ plot is your cliche series of culture shock scenarios; with each scene being centered on her confusion and amazement over human things.
Then the second half of the film just becomes a retread of the first movie! Dracula’s old fashioned father Vlad appears at Dennis’ birthday party and Drac tries to disguise all the human guests to protect them (The first film had Dracula disguising human hotel guest Johnny, to make sure Mavis remains fearful of humans). Sure, Count Vlad and his bat monster sidekick do pose as legitimate threats if the cat ends up out of the bag, but it’s still a little cheap to enter familiar territory like this.
There’s at least some charm to the movie though; regardless of the unoriginal and uninventive storytelling. Dracula and Dennis develop a really sweet bond, one that makes us believe that Drac’s fear isn’t just losing a bloodline, but also a grandson. There are some legitimately moving scenes revolving around the grandfather and grandson that prove that the franchise’ heart hasn’t bit the dust.
Dennis himself is rather cute too, acting like any other innocent kid his age; even though he comes from a family of bloodsuckers. He spends most of the movie just being a sweet and adorable toddler, but he does get to be quite the badass during the climactic finale. My only problem with the kid is that his voice actor isn’t very good; he can sound cute, but he doesn’t have the acting chops to pull off the more dramatic lines.
To conclude, Hotel Transylvania 2 is certainly an easier watch than the first film, thanks to the tighter execution and less exhausting pacing; however, it’s also not very clever or imaginative in the story department, because it rehashes the first movie and relies on tired old cliche gags. I’d watch it over the first movie any day, but I can’t say that it’s a huge improvement compared to it’s predecessor.