Hotel Transylvania 2 – Film Review by Frances Winston
Starring the voices of: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Mel Brooks
In cinemas October 16th
This sequel to the 2012 film is set seven years later but don’t worry if you haven’t seen the original as you will manage to catch up pretty quickly. This sees the eponymous hotel now open to humans as well as monsters and Mavis (Gomez) and Johnny (Samberg) have a young son Dennis who is the apple of Dracula’s eye. However as his fifth birthday approaches and there is still no sign of his fangs Dracula (Sandler) begins to worry that his grandson may have inherited Johnny’s human qualities rather than Mavis’ vampire traits so he concocts a series of elaborate stunts to “scare the fangs out of him” while Mavis and Johnny are out of town.
The plot here isn’t the strongest and so is padded out with thinly veiled morality tales and life lessons that are about as subtle as a kick in the head. However they are added a certain charm when being delivered by the cast of ghoulish fiends. In his frantic efforts to prove his grandchild’s vamp credentials, Sandler’s Drac keeps ups a frenetic pace – much like Sandler does in his live action movies – and this does really help to keep the story ticking along. The animation is top notch and little ones will be enthralled by some of the visuals but overall there isn’t as much here to engage the adults as there was in the first film. Many of the jokes are corny clichés and you can see them coming a mile away.
That said this does have its merits. The characters are lovable and fun and there is a great family dynamic between Mavis and Dracula. The voice actors all do a great job and there are some very sweet moments. In an age of extremely well-constructed animation though it does feel like somewhat of a throwback. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it enjoyed the biggest September opening ever in the States so is clearly doing something right. Unfortunately it is not quite the guilty pleasure of the first one and adults are likely to take little from this. A bit of fun for Halloween but not the pastiche of the classic creature feature that it tries to be.