After a summer remarkably devoid of animated children’s movies (Inside Out, Minions, and the Shaun the Sheep Movie were the only contenders), we start the fall with Hotel Transylvania 2— the follow-up to the 2012 original. which nabbed $148 million at the box office.
Hoping to cash in on that success, Sony Pictures Animation decided if some was good, more must surely be better. Alas, not so much.
Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, Hotel Transylvania 2 begins with a wholly unnecessary twenty-minute stretch wherein Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) marries her human boyfriend Jonathan (Andy Samberg), has a baby boy, and then watches him grow up to age four. Then, finally, the movie gets rolling. A little bit.
Mavis is considering raising the tyke near Jonathan’s family in California, but Dracula (Adam Sandler) is hoping the kid has some monster blood in him and that the happy family will continue to call Transylvania home. So while Mavis and Jonathan take a kid-less vacation to test the waters, Dracula and his monster gang take the opportunity to try to bring out the boy’s fangs.
Peppered with goofy sight gags and silly humor, Hotel Transylvania 2 is aimed squarely at the elementary school set, and anyone over the age of, say, twelve will find very little to chuckle at; the screenplay by Sandler and former Saturday Night Live stalwart Robert Smigel relies too often on eyeroll-inducing comedy. (At one point Jonathan tells Dracula he should use Bluetooth, so the vampire whistles for his buddy– a blue, tooth-shaped monster. Groan.)
The voice cast, for its part, does a decent job, including Kevin James as Frankenstein, Steve Buscemi as werewolf Wayne, and franchise newcomers Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman as Jonathan’s parents. Ultimately, though, their talent gets wasted in a movie that’s just too bland and pedestrian to be worthwhile.
Worth the 3D glasses?
There’s plenty of glasses-worthy eye-candy in Hotel Transylvania 2, including a couple of nufty flying sequences. The movie may not be great, but if you’re gonna see it, at least spring for the 3D version.