Hotel Transylvania 2

For a monster animation comedy, Hotel Transylvania 2 has a lot of fangs but no bite.

While the first film didn’t raise the bar for animation, screwball humor laced with sight gags and a heartfelt message resulted in ghoulish fun for everyone. With Hotel Transylvania 2, the Drac pack is back for another non-stop adventure, and it tries to be as vibrant and energetic as the first film.

Picking up where the first film ended, Hotel Transylvania 2 begins with Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Jonathan’s (Andy Samberg) wedding after Dracula (Adam Sandler) has a change of heart. Acceptance over prejudice formed the overbearing message in the first film with Dracula finally embracing Jonathan as his would-be son-in-law, despite the latter being human. It was a sweet but predictable ending to a burlesque farce. Then it happens all over again when Drac becomes a grandpa in this sequel. Fixated that his grandson (who looks exactly like one of the ginger-head kids in Pixar’s Brave) isn’t showing signs of his vampire heritage, Drac and his undead buddies set out to give the toddler a crash course in becoming a little monster. Meanwhile, Drac’s dad Vlad (Mel Brooks) is awakened by all the ruckus and goes bat crazy (pun intended) when he hears that his great-grandson is half human.

The film takes another stab at culture shock when Mavis meets her human in-laws (Meet the Parents?), but by this time it’s déjà vu for anyone who has seen the previous film. That overcoming discrimination and accepting people as they are is a commendable theme for an animation, but haven’t we seen this before? Although well intentioned, the bigger question is whether this message permeates with juvenile thinking. And as expected, thrown into the mix is the crude humor that has become an Adam Sandler insignia. How well this works depends largely on how the first film was received. Call it an encore, but whatever worked in the first film seems to have found its way in this sequel via a rehashed story and that isn’t saying much for originality.

That said, it doesn’t take rocket science to entertain a kid these days. With virtually everyone returning, the best parts are when certain characters are at their slapstick best with zany voice talents from the supporting cast. Unsurprisingly, and since this is a Sandler film, the cast includes Steve Buscemi, David Spade, and Kevin James, all last seen together in Grown Ups. Together, they have what it takes to make kids laugh but I doubt parents and other adults will respond the same way. It’s not that Hotel Transylvania 2 is horrible or boring. It’s just that this film isn’t nearly as intelligent or emotionally powerful as even the most mediocre films from Pixar. And that’s saying a lot for a film with plenty of fangs but no bite.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.