Hotel Transylvania 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Some time after the first film, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her new fiancé Johnny (Andy Samberg) are finally married, with the approval of her father Dracula (Adam Sandler), and the world becomes aware of (and unfazed by) the existence of monsters. Mavis later reveals to Drac that she is pregnant and a year later, she gives birth to a baby boy named Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), who later befriends Wayne’s daughter Winnie (Sadie Sandler). Nearing his fifth birthday, Dennis has yet to grow his fangs and Drac worries that his grandson might not gain vampire powers. Noticing the dangers of Transylvania, Mavis starts to consider raising Dennis where Johnny grew up, much to Drac’s disapproval.

Drac tells Johnny (who doesn’t want to leave the hotel either) to bring Mavis to California to visit the in-laws, Mike (Nick Offerman) and Linda (Megan Mullally), but to make sure to keep her distracted so that she will not move, leaving Drac to “babysit” Dennis. Drac enlists his friends, Frank (Kevin James), Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key) and Blobby the Blob (Jonny Solomon) to help train Dennis to become a monster, to no avail. Drac takes Dennis to his childhood summer camp, Camp Winnepacaca, where he learned to hone his vampire abilities, and discovers that the camp is safer than it was when he went there. Drac stubbornly believes Dennis is a “late fanger”, so he hurls Dennis from a tall, unstable tower to pressure the boy’s transformation into a bat. Dennis does not transform, and Drac has to fly and rescue him at the last second. The stunt is filmed by the campers and uploaded to the internet, which eventually reaches Mavis and Johnny. Mavis angrily transforms into a bat to fly her and Johnny back to Transylvania. Drac and his friends reach the hotel a couple of seconds after Mavis. She confronts her father for putting Dennis in grave danger and his inability to accept that he is human. She states she will move out of the hotel after Dennis’ fifth birthday the following Wednesday. Drac hangs his head with deep guilt.

Mavis invites Vlad (Mel Brooks), her grandfather and Drac’s father, to Dennis’ birthday party. As Vlad is much worse than he was when it comes to humans, Drac tells Johnny to have the human party-goers disguise themselves as monsters. Vlad receives the invitation and arrives with his monstrous bat-like servant Bela (Rob Riggle) to meet his great-grandson for the first time. Meeting him, he believes that fear will cause Dennis’ fangs to sprout and possesses a stage performer dressed as Dennis’s favorite television monster, “Kakie the Cake Monster,” to scare Dennis, but Drac shields his grandson at the last moment and exposes the deception to Vlad, who is outraged that Drac has accepted humans as guests in his hotel. Drac confronts his father about how humans are different now.

Mavis becomes upset with her grandfather’s behavior (regretting inviting him to Dennis’s birthday party) and while the family argues, Dennis sadly flees the hotel (followed by Bela) and enters the forest with Winnie in tow, hiding in her treehouse, but they are attacked by Bela, who mistakes Dennis for a human. When Bela injures Winnie and threatens to destroy the hotel, Dennis’ anger causes him to instantly grow his fangs and his vampire abilities manifest. He begins to fight Bela, who calls his giant-bat minions. Drac, Mavis, Dennis, Johnny, the rest of the monsters and (some of) Johnny’s family team up to defeat his minions as Vlad watches. A livid Bela then attempts to kill Johnny himself with a stake, but Vlad appears and shrinks him to a harmless size telling him never to come near him and his family again. This allows the Werewolf Kids to lick him nonstop.

With Dennis having vampire abilities, Mavis and Johnny continue to raise him in Transylvania, and they resume the party with his friends

REVIEW:

Adam Sandler’s movies haven’t been doing very well lately, with the exception of Hotel Transylvania (which he only has a voice acting part in). The first film was somewhat of a surprise hit which, of course, means there has to be Hotel Transylvania 2, right? I’m so sick of sequels, prequels, threequels, etc., but I digress. I’m sure this will be worth my time, right?

What is this about?

In this batty animated sequel, high jinks and hilarity ensue when Vlad, Dracula’s cranky estranged dad, arrives at Hotel Transylvania for an unexpected visit — and promptly creates an uproar.

What did I like?

Hanging with the guys. As with almost all of Adam Sandler’s movies, he makes sure to cast his buddies. This is no exception, but the difference is we get to see them actually act as if they are lifelong friends. The last time we saw that from Sandler and co. may have been Grown Ups.

Vlad. Let’s see, Dracula is Jewish comedic legend (whether we want to admit it or not), so his father would have to be an even bigger Jewish comedic legend. How about Mel Brooks? Yes, they cast Brooks as Vlad and he does not disappoint. First, he shows why he has been in the funny business all these years by having a comedic standoff with Sandler and then, we see the grumpy, human hating, all powerful father of vampires. In the short time he is on screen, we get a nice layering of the character that really pays off the build up they gave him early on in the film.

Parks and Rec. The human parents are total opposite of Dracula. Serious and non-flinching, they make you wonder how they even had their son, who doesn’t seem to fit in with them, either. Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly reunite (after many episodes avoiding each other on Parks and Recreation) and give us the tranquil ripples in this maelstrom of madness.

What didn’t I like?

Like father, like son. In the first film, I was not a fan of Andy Samberg’s character. This annoying human who somehow stumbled into a monster hotel nearly ruined the entire film for me. His son, while not as annoying, seems to have the same effect in the sequel. This kid is nothing more than a mop of bright orange hair that always needs saving and talk in such a way that we’re supposed to think him cute. I didn’t.

Tentacle monster. With all the monsters at the hotel, you would think we wouldn’t hear/see about any others, right? Well, lo and behold, out of nowhere (and in a normal, human neighborhood, mind you) we come across a tentacle monster that is married to a human woman, but everyone goes about their business as if nothing happened. How is this thing just up and running around town? I just don’t get it!

Worry too much. Mavis is a great character…at least she was in the first film. There was development, depth, and a touch of human to her that we all could relate to. This go around, she has been reduced to having nothing else to do but worry about her kid. I understand that is what mother’s do, but seriously, they could have given her something…anything else besides spending all her undead life doing things for her annoying kid…and don’t get me started on that little freak out over the camp video!

Final verdict on Hotel Transylvania 2? This is a valiant attempt to recreate the magic of the first film. IT actually comes quite close, but the failure here comes when the writers decided to use more kid humor or more adult humor, rather than finding a happy medium that all could enjoy. That being said, this is still a highly enjoyable film and better than most pictures out there. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.

4 out of 5 stars

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