Is Adam Sandler a washed-up has-been? Seems a lot like it. The last few years have not been kind to Sandler’s live action comedies. People (me) have called them uninspired, unfunny, and outright annoying. Can the same be said of his cartoon movies? Is Sandler as a voice actor as annoying as Sandler the comedian? The answer may surprise you. This is Hotel Transylvania 2.
Hot off the heels of the first flick, Mavis and Jonathon have gotten married! It’s not long before the two produce a bundle of joy named Dennis. But is Dennis a human or a vampire? Dracula has until the kid’s 5th birthday to find out, or his little girl and her new family may be moving out for good.
Full disclosure: I liked the first film in this franchise well enough. I thought the plot was decent, the characters were likable, and the animation was superb. Did I think this warranted a sequel? I wasn’t opposed to the idea. When I heard there might be one, I thought it had potential. Heck, I can even see them making a TV show out of a hotel for monsters. Unfortunately, this sequel focuses less on monster shenanigans and more on an almost plot-less story.
I think the biggest problem with this movie is pacing. Act 1 goes at breakneck speed, going from Mavis and Jonathon’s wedding to Mavis becoming pregnant to the baby being a year old and then almost 5 years old in the span of minutes. Act 2 dragged relentlessly with the A plot (Drac trying to find Dennis’s inner monster) feeling like one scene that went on way too long and the B plot (Mavis and Jonathon exploring his home town) feeling like major filler and adding nothing to the plot. Act 3 feels like a different movie entirely with a main antagonist popping up out of nowhere and a glorified cameo by Mel Brooks. Seriously, Mel Brooks may as well not have been in the movie for how little he’s used. He doesn’t even take part in the film’s climax. It really pissed me off, actually. Luckily, the film succeeds in two big ways.
Firstly, as with the first film, the animation of HT2 was pretty well done. Everything felt almost like a Tex Avery cartoon: Big expressions, punchy action, zippy characters, and solid visual comedy. The movie was quite a feast for the eyes. I will say that I felt the first movie had a bit better comedy where this one felt a bit more rubbery in parts. The film also has great voice actors, and with them, great characters. This is probably Sandler’s best role period (outside of his SNL days). I think Dracula is simply fantastic: Likable but obviously flawed in his over-protectiveness, quick to anger, and impulsiveness. The side characters are all good as well, each having distinct personalities and good comedy moments. I even liked Dennis, the child character, which is something I RARELY say. I thought he was cute and believable and even relatable for the kids in the audience, not knowing his place in the world but not caring too much because he’s a kid.
Bottom line, this is a decent flick that’s worth your time. I would say it’s about on par with the first movie. If you’re looking for a movie with a good plot and a deep meaning, you’re not gonna find it here. But if you’re looking for something harmless and fun and don’t mind if the middle drags slightly, then you’ve found the right flick. This film may not have much bite to it, but I for one had a good time.
And now, like EVERY non-Disney cartoon movie nowadays, let’s end this article with a dance party!