Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania 2

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It’s super rare for me to actually enjoy a sequel to an original film. In fact, despite my love of Rainy With a Chance of Meatballs, the second proved to be an utter and complete mess. That being said, Hotel Transylvania 2 had more chances of success with the first movie being so utterly awesome. So with Hotel Transylvania 2, I was cautiously optimistic. But Holy Rabies, was it good~

About: 7 years after Johnny first arrived at Hotel Transylvania and rocked the Monster world, he and Mavis Dracula have gotten married and even had a half-vampire, half-human son named Dennis. Mavis is highly protective of Dennis, however, forcing her dad, Drac, to baby proof the entire Hotel. Despite no signs that Dennis possesses vampire-traits, Drac is optimistic that his grandson is indeed a vampire, claiming that Drac DNA is strong. Still, Mavis feels it’s too dangerous for Dennis to stay around monsters and considers moving Johnny, herself and Dennis to Johnny’s childhood neighborhood. Drac plots with his monster buddies to take Dennis to some old haunts to “scare” the vampire fangs out of him, roping Johnny into assisting by taking Mavis to his old neighborhood to show her around while they babysit Dennis. Can Drac and his pack scare the fangs out of Dennis before Mavis moves the family away? They only have until Dennis turns 5! On IMDB Hotel Transylvania 2 has a 6.8/10 rating and only a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and a 67% from the audience.

Bleh Bleh Bleh! Spoilers are beyond, human!

The Plot/Characters: The plot of Hotel Transylvania is that Dennis is showing absolutely no signs of becoming a vampire. That leaves him, a human, to grow up in the monster world where things are more dangerous for him. Mavis has become incredibly overprotective of her son, while Johnny feels like Dennis is fine but is too scared to speak up. Dracula comes up with this scheme to enlist Johnny to take Mavis to visit her in-laws, keeping her distracted but also not having too much fun so she won’t want to move everyone. In the meantime, Drac and his pack consisting of Murray, Frank, Wayne, Griffin and even Blobby set out to take Dennis to many old haunts of theirs in order to scare the fangs out of him. Unfortunately, things aren’t like they used to be. People aren’t afraid of Frank and want to take pictures with him, thinking monsters are cool; Murray can’t conduct his old spells with his bad back; Wayne no longer hunts for his food as a werewolf and Griffin is, well, invisible. Even Drac’s old camp teaches kids the safe way. Drac takes Dennis up to a very rickety old tower as a last resort, where Drac originally learned to fly, and drops him off of it. But when Dennis doesn’t fly, Drac rescues him at the last minute.

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Meanwhile, while Mavis at first seemed to be enjoying herself in the human world, she finds that she isn’t quite fitting in. The events of Drac dropping Dennis off the tower go viral, leading Mavis to discover that Dennis is not safe and sound at the Hotel, prompting her to barge back home. Now upset, she decides to move out for sure after Dennis’ 5th birthday. Mavis invites her grandfather Vlad, who is old school, much to the disdain of Drac. Still, they come up with a plan to scare the fangs out of Dennis by using his favorite cartoon monster. Before it can scare him too much, Drac pulls the plug, finally admitting it doesn’t matter if his grandson is a human or a monster.

Where the movie could have gone better is the ending, in my opinion. Dennis runs away and Vlad’s bat monster friends pursue the human, wanting to kill him. Together he and his werewolf friend, Winnie, try to escape but are cornered. Becoming angered, Dennis’ fangs emerge and he begins to fight. Everyone joins in to take down the monsters, including Vlad himself. Great, that’s awesome? But the entire point of the movie up until this point was the moral lesson that it doesn’t matter if you are a monster or a human so this was a bit of an easy escape. Still, the movie ends on a high note with a tighter bond between humans and monsters and the old-school Vlad finally accepting humans as well.

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For the most part, all of the characters you knew and loved from the first movie are exactly the same, only we get more background for Drac’s friends and get to learn about Dennis. Dennis is a sweet, innocent kid with an obsession over superheroes and his favorite TV monster, Candy. My only real complaint is that Mavis seems a bit “off”. It could be because she’s more mature and has a child to raise, but she definitely seems overly rigid and definitely a lot less fun than she was only 7 years prior. Of course, again, this could just be character development and the added responsibility. You do finally get to see her cutting loose wants Johnny and her reach California, however, which is good.

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Humor: If there is one thing that this movie absolutely nails even more so than its predecessor, it would definitely be the humor. The sequel out-humors the original by a significant margin, which is actually saying quite a lot. Everything from the traditional cartoon humor to the antics of Dracs friends keep this movie very light and definitely chalk full of laughs.

There are so many humorous parts that it’s really hard to nail down just a few. One of the best scenes is when Murray is conducting an Egyptian curse to bring forth a sandstorm. Moving his arms and legs around in “poses” and acting very ominous and evil, he suddenly throws his back out and lands on the ground stuck in an hieroglyph style pose. Murray also gets distracted from hunting in the woods for a meal in an old style werewolf manner by… a Frisbee. Yes, a frisbee which he proceeds to take with them, slobbering and drooling all over their vehicle.

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Even Drac attempting to use a smart phone and tapping at it frantically with his long nails and not getting the buttons to work is funny and also highlights the disconnect sometimes between age groups and new technology/thoughts. Also the video that Mavis pulls up is a remix video of the fall and subsequent scenes on Youtube… The movie does a great job making social commentary, also pointing out the differences in thoughts on what safety is for children now and how insurance companies play a part.

I tend not to laugh out loud very much, despite being a person that often uses “lol”. Regardless, I have to admit there were several times I was laughing so hard that it hurt my sides.

Animation: The animation quality is still super up there with the sequel. Sony Motion Pictures obviously did not try to cut corners with the animation team, as some sequels are want to do. Everything I’ve said in my previous Hotel Transylvania Review holds up here for the animation and also the OST.

Overall: If I had to pick an animated sequel that didn’t disappoint, then Hotel Transylvania 2 would probably be pretty high up on the very short list. I was disappointed even with How to Train Your Dragon 2 even, which is saying something after having loved the first movie to pieces. That being said, HT2 isn’t without its flaws and it certainly won’t surprise you much if you saw the first. Still, it’s worth a visit and definitely a rare decent animated sequel or a sequel in general. Even by itself, the film is good and will certainly give adults and children some good laughs. More than the original, actually! And it’s a fun adventure overall!

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Have you seen Hotel Transylvania 2? If so, what did YOU think?

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