By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B (3 stars)
Well, this is it, the second review for an Adam Sandler movie on this blog, and fortunately I am much more positive towards this one. The Drac Pack is back (Redundant? Yes!) And Sony Pictures Animation, the studio that brought us hits like Open Season, Surf’s Up, and Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs brings us a sequel to their 2012 animated hit, Hotel Transylvania.
Unlike many of Adam Sandler’s recent films like Jack & Jill, That’s My Boy, and Pixels, Hotel Transylvania was one of his better films and when the first movie came out I was so relieved that it wasn’t released under Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison, which is responsible for the majority of his duds, although he did was a writer and executive producer on it, but he had plenty of help on the film.
In comes Cartoon Network veteran, Genndy Tartakovsky, known for his work on shows on Cartoon Network like The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, and the incredibly popular, Samurai Jack as the film’s director, plenty of Sandler’s collaboration cast members from the past, actual comedic writing that shows off his talent, add in some of the most colorful and energetic animation you’ll ever see in your life, and you have a hit with both children and parents alike.
When the film was released in 2012, it was a hit with audiences but received mixed reviews from critics, but they were much more forgiving with this movie than they were with Adam Sandler’s other work. I don’t consider it an animation great like Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon, or Shrek, but as an entertaining animated movie, it was a ton of fun to watch, the same thing can be said for the sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2.
Everyone’s favorite characters from the first film are back such as vampire “Vampa”, Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler-Happy Gilmore, 50 First Dates, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan), his now married daughter, Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez-Wizards of Waverly Place, Ramona and Beezus, Spring Breakers), son-in-law, Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg-Hot Rod, I Love You Man, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs), Frank AKA Frankenstein (voiced by Kevin James-The King of Queens, Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), Murray the Mummy (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key-Key & Peele, The Lego Movie, Tomorrowland), were-daddy, Wayne the Werewolf (voiced by Steve Buscemi-The Sopranos, Monsters Inc., Monsters University), Griffin the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade-Tommy Boy, The Emperor’s New Groove, Joe Dirt), and of course, Blobby.
After the events of Hotel Transylvania, Mavis and Johnny are happily married at Hotel Transylvania and they have their own little monster, a half-human, half-vampire boy named Dennis (voiced by newcomer Saul Andrew Blinkoff-The Jungle Book (2016)). Her father, Dracula is concerned that if Dennis doesn’t grow his vampire fangs, Mavis and Johnny will move to California where Johnny grew up.
So while, Mavis and Johnny are away for a visit to California to see if it’s safe for their child, Dracula and his pals, Frankenstein, Wayne the Werewolf, Griffin the Invisible Man, and Murray try to figure out a way to make Dennis’ fangs grow in, because he has until he’s at least five years old to have his fangs grow in. After failed attempts of teaching Dennis to fly, be scary, and turn into a bat, Dracula’s daddy, Vlad (voiced by Mel Brooks-Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs) comes in to see if he can get his fangs in, but they have to hurry before Mavis and Johnny decide to move to California.
Overall, Hotel Transylvania 2 is a decent follow-up to the first film, but like the first movie, it’s no masterpiece or possible Oscar contender like Inside Out or Shaun the Sheep, but if you’re looking for a fun night out with the family, there’s enough in there to make it a fun night with monsters.
Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, and others are legitimately funny here, unlike most of their recent Happy Madison projects. Like the first movie, Selena Gomez does a solid job as Mavis, and I hope to see her in more good projects in the future.
The jokes and visual jokes get a big laugh, the animation is just as fast, colorful, and energetic as it was in the first movie, and it’s even more fun with 3D, especially the colors they use for the backgrounds, it’s not bouncy like the character animation, but it looks strangely beautiful, much like a Tim Burton animated movie.
I’m so relieved that Adam Sandler and the rest of the Happy Madison film cast are still able to make a good movie, even after several duds. Not even Drew Barrymore and access to classic video games could put them back on track, but with the right script, film crew, and effort thrown in, they can pull it off because these are talented stars from Saturday Night Live, however if they continue their dated Happy Madison clichés, I’ll pray for a Hotel Transylvania 3 so I can say positive things about this cast again.
If you enjoyed the first Hotel Transylvania, you’ll probably enjoy the sequel just as much. This is my go to family movie of the month, and just in time for Halloween, but Sony Pictures Animation isn’t done yet, we have their Goosebumps movie coming out next month, so hopefully it’ll be just as fun as Hotel Transylvania 2.