Hotel Transylvania was a surprise hit thanks to its great cast, fun visual comedy, and unique animation. But, with the gang all back together for Hotel Transylvania 2, can our favorite vampires strike twice?
Mavis, the vampire daughter of Dracula, and her human husband Jonathan are adjusting to married life living in her father’s hotel when they find out that Mavis is pregnant. Fast forward a few months and Mavis gives birth to a bright-eyed, little redhead, Dennis. Dracula is simply captivated with the child, but is concerned about his lack of fangs. If Dennis doesn’t get them before his fifth birthday, then he’ll remain human forever.
Meanwhile Mavis is getting pretty fed up with her overprotective and pushy dad and threatens to move Dennis and the family away to California so Dennis can grow up with other human children like him. Dracula convinces Johnny to take Mavis on a relaxing vacation to California (with Dracula whispering in Johnny’s ear that he should convince Mavis of what a bad place it truly is to raise a child) and offers to watch Dennis while they are away. But, seconds after the happy couple leaves, Dracula and his drac pack begin work at trying to make Dennis’ inner monster come out.
Hotel Transylvania 2 is a fun continuation of the first film, which created compelling characters in a unique new world. Some may have thought the film ended on the perfect note (well, maybe not since it did end with a stereotypical animated dance party) and didn’t need a sequel; however, the sequel explores the next natural phase in Mavis and Johnny’s life and it’s nice to be back with these great characters.
Adam Sandler kills it again with his performance of Dracula, making the vampire a hilarious and engaging lead. Mavis, a fan favorite from the first film, continues to steal the show. She’s transformed from a one-hundred-and-something, adventure-seeking teenager to a overprotective mother, who is still just as charming every time she’s on screen.
Mavis’s trip to California is filled with visits to many “foreign” places such as a convenient mart, skate park (where she is the star), and her in-laws’ home. Despite thinking she’s normal and doing her best to fit in, she’s really a monster out of water (which isn’t helped by her in-laws awkward and hilarious attempts to try to make the monster feel at home). She leaves the trip feeling deflated, insecure, and disappointed in the human world around her, wondering if maybe Hotel Transylvania is the best place to be after all.
Yet again, the comedy and visuals are what make this film stand apart. The caricatured characters, poses, and animation harken back to the golden age of animation. Every pose is exaggerated in such an enjoyable, satisfying way. It’s such a treat to see CGI animation done in this way; it’s surprising that more studios don’t try to employ these “old school” techniques to this effect.
One point of contention is Vlad, Dracula’s old school father who is the baddest vampire around. Since he’s so extremely prejudiced toward humans, he’s never been invited to any family events and doesn’t even know he has a grandson. As Dennis’s fifth birthday party approaches Vlad is invited and gleefully accepts, not realizing that the world has changed and that the place will be crawling with humans (not to mention the fact that his grandson is one). While this character and conflict could have been interesting to explore, it feels tacked on the third act, gets resolved unbelievably quickly, and ultimately takes away from the film’s real conflict: Mavis’ decision to stay or leave.
Hotel Transylvania 2 is an enjoyable follow up to the 2012 original. The story doesn’t break any new ground; however, for fans of the first film, it’s a fun romp seeing these character back together again and is on par with the original. Both kids and adults will have a great time and, hey, who doesn’t love a good monster mash film?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes