Hotel Translyvania 2 – Film Review by Pierce McDonough
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writers: Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
The movie opens energetically, throwing us right into the middle of a wedding between Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human husband-to-be, Johnny (Adam Samberg). Packed with popular monsters from the horror genre, the wedding is a colourful affair, bouncing from werewolves to mummies and contrasting them with the anxious, fish out of water humans in attendance. Tonally, it shifts from the comedic to sentimental, each laid on as thickly as the other. As the fully grown Mavis walks up the aisle, Drac sees the little girl as she once was. Unable to let go of his paternal angst, he makes sure the married couple’s big kiss is no more than a slight peck.
Continuing at the same fast pace, it’s not long before Mavis and Johnny have a child. While Drac’s gotten over his aversion to humans, allowing them into his once monster exclusive hotel, he desperately hopes that his grandchild grows up to be a vampire. It doesn’t look likely. Approaching his fifth birthday, Dennis’ vampire teeth still haven’t come in. The ‘vampa’ (vampire grampa, the movie explains more than once) suggests he’s just a ‘late-fanger’. Making matters worse, Mavis is thinking about moving her family out of his hotel and into a suburban home where Drac will be unable to protect them. While Mavis visits her in-laws with Johnny, Drac takes the opportunity to team up with his monster friends and put Dennis through a boot camp that should speed up his vampire growth.
With the sexual innuendo toned down and the vulgarity more playful than shocking, Sandler’s broad sense of humour is better suited for the young audience Hotel Transylvania 2 appeals to. An Adam Sandler movie doesn’t seem as childish when its target audience is children and the simplistic conclusions his films usually draw aren’t as condescending in this context. Jokes are fired rapidly meaning that for every one that doesn’t work, it’s not long before the next one that does. While much of the verbal humour is corny and forced, visual gags (as well as Sony product placement) are peppered throughout, many playing on the mismatch of monsters and humans.
The conclusion slightly contradicts the themes of open-mindedness and inclusiveness that the movie explicitly explores. Regardless, children won’t be bored thanks to it’s fast pace and high gag rate while older audience members might appreciate a late cameo from Mel Brooks as ‘Vlad’, Dracula’s grumpy father who’s stuck in his ways and refuses to accept humans.