Sony Pictures Animation makes another visit to Dracula’s monster-lodging establishment in Hotel Transylvania 2, a sequel to the 2012 film that found the overprotective Count (voiced by Adam Sandler) trying to dissuade his beloved daughter, Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez), from going out into the world and interacting with humans.
Despite his efforts, Mavis falls in love with a mortal, Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg), and as the sequel commences, the couple ties the knot and subsequently becomes parents of a son named Dennis (voiced by Asher Blinkoff). Count readily takes to his responsibilities as a ‘vampa’ — a vampire grandpa — and dotes on his half-human, half-vampire grandson, while hoping the child will inherit his traits. But when Mavis decides to move to a human neighbourhood, away from the dangers of the monsters’ locale, Count makes it his mission to help Dennis find his inner monster and convince the family to stay. He enlists his monster friends — including Frankenstein (voiced by Kevin James), werewolf Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade), a mummy named Murray (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and Blobby the Blob (voiced by Jonny Solomon) — to assist him in scaring his grandson, hoping fear will cause Dennis’ fangs to sprout.
There is nothing exceptional about how events unfold, nor does the film make any attempts to try something original or different. The result is amiable but not particularly inventive. With Genndy Tartakovsky returning as the director, the movie retreads the same ground as its predecessor, basically focusing on Count’s parental neurosis and delivering the same messages of acceptance and embracing change. The execution is obvious and safe, while the thin plot seems to have been stretched and padded with gags to make a full feature.
To its credit though, the film is — or at least tries to be — warm and full of energy. It is competently animated and does succeed in delivering the occasional laugh, but few of its punchlines are clever enough to merit praise, and some simply feel tired. On the whole, the movie will please younger viewers more than it will entertain their parents (grown-ups are also likely to find most of the voices overly familiar, a gripe that young kids will not have).
In the hands of a more creative studio and writers, Hotel Transylvania 2 could potentially have been a lot more impressive. As it stands, this animated feature is watchable but largely unmemorable and ultimately inconsequential.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, November 22nd, 2015.