Hotel Transylvania 2

The crew in Hotel Transylvania 2 (SK Pictures)
The crew in Hotel Transylvania 2 (SK Pictures)

What it's about:

Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania. Dracula’s rigid monster-only policy has finally relaxed, and the hotel is opening up its doors to human guests. But, behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So, while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny—and in for a major cultural shock of her own—“Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” bootcamp. Little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old-school dad, Vlad, is about to pay a family visit to the hotel. When Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pureblood, and that humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania, things are going to get batty!

What we thought:

An Adam Sandler movie that doesn’t make you question why people are still giving him money to make movies, Hotel Transylvania 2 hits that perfect stride between delivering comedy that is understood by young children but can still crack up the parents without having jokes that are too adult. Although not a Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks gem, it has enough charm and cracks at the pop culture popularity of “monsters” and older generations hostility against new technologies to make for a good animated comedy.

Many years later, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) get married and have the most adorable ginger-haired kid Dennis. Vamp-Pa Dracula (Andy Samberg) is psyched to have another vampire in the family, but is worried when it appears that his grandkid might be more human than vampire. He gets desperate when Mavis thinks that they should move to Johnny’s hometown in California where her son would be amongst “normal” people.

In the previous film Mavis had to deal with a very overprotective Dracula, but in this one the roles are reversed when Mom Mavis is a slightly more toned down version of her dad, something that everyone realises happens to them at some time or another. But where the previous film was about moving beyond your fears (personified in monsters) this one deals with accepting the differences in others and moving on from old beliefs and changing with the world (personified by monsters).

Interestingly, much less focus has been put on Johnny, who becomes more of a background character to Mavis, Dracula and the little ball of cute, and their relationship. This might be due to the fact that this time round Sandler wrote the screenplay and might have had a little bit of ego seep into the script, but who knows. It certainly didn’t detract too much from the story and Samberg still had some classic lines to keep the crowd entertained.

As for the voice acting, the cast is filled with experienced actors that knows what they are doing, but the real star is Asher Blinkoff who voices the young Dennis, a six-year-old who was still learning to read while doing the voice recordings for his character. His age makes Dennis so much more believable, compared to an older kid pretending to be much younger than he is. A lot of credit should also go to the director, Genndy Tartakovsky, who is the director behind many of Cartoon Network’s famous shows like Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. He coaxed a wide range of authentic emotions from a very young child and in the process sculpted a very authentic five-year-old half-vampire toddler.

Also comedic god Mel Brooks makes a voice appearance as Vlad, Dracula’s father. Enough said.

Hotel Transylvania 2 has a well-timed release just in time for the school holidays, and parents can give themselves a well-deserved break with a trip to the cinemas for some goofy 3D fun, monster shenanigans and “bleh, bleh, bleh”.

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