MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania 2

written by David Steffen

Hotel Transylvania 2 is a 2015 computer-animated children’s comedy produced by Sony.  The Legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs a hotel in Transylvania with help from his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human boyfriend Jonathan (Andy Samberg).  Mavis and Jonathan get married and have a baby they name Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) who is adorable and lovable and apparently very very human to Dracula’s chagrin, because he thinks that his vampiric blood is very strong and will make any of his descendants very vampiric as well.  The common knowledge is that vampire kids have to show their fangs for the first time by the time they turn five or they will never show them at all, so Dracula is determined to show Dennis the vampire life and make the fangs show.

If you liked the first movie, it’s very much more of the same, same ensemble cast in general, plus a new red-curly-haired maybe-vampire baby added to the mix.

The first movie was almost entirely based around Dracula trying to build a framework of lies to keep his daughter from being interested in the outside world.  This one is very similar in premise in that it’s based around Dracula pretending he doesn’t care about Dennis being “too human” for him and trying to force him to show vampire nature in ever-escalating ways that, if he were entirely human, would be child endangerment in a major way.  While the kid was cute, and it was good to see the relationship between Mavis and Jonathan stay pretty solid with a new member of the family in the mix, I found the central premise frustrating rather than funny.  Dracula is SO controlling, and where Mavis doesn’t let him get away with it forthright he just sneaks around behind her back and endangers her child in private instead.  And despite claiming that he is okay with Jonathan, his utter fixation on making sure the kid is a vampire shows his underlying prejudices (I’m not saying his prejudices are entirely unbased, since humans did kill his wife, but he should have learned by now that those humans were not representative of the whole human race), and pretty much the entire plot of the movie is based on those underlying prejudices, it’s hard to take that as a comedy premise.


MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania

written by David Steffen

Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 computer-animated children’s comedy by Columbia Pictures.  The legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler), after the death of his wife at the hands of humans, raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) as a single parent. Frightened of violent and unpredictable humanity, he has made a life for them by founding a five-star hotel in Transylvania just for monsters, and telling Mavis constant horror stories about the human world so she won’t to go.  But it’s her 118th birthday now, which means she can make her own decisions and for some reason she still wants to go out into the world.  To make matters worse, a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) somehow finds his way to the hotel and is not scared away by the monsters, and Jonathan and Mavis hit it off.

It’s a fun idea, and since there’s been three movies to date and a cartoon TV show, clearly the kids especially like it. There are some funny bits, particular from Jonathan as he is an oddball human to have made it so far into Transylvania without being scared off.  The ensemble cast (Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, CeeLo Green, David Spade, Fran Drescher, among others)

Adam Sandler isn’t super Adam Sandler-ish in this one, so if you tend to hate Adam Sandler movies as much as I do (some notable exceptions exist), I didn’t get that vibe about it.  But the main plot of the movie is based around a fragile scaffolding of transparent lies that Dracula has been building for a century–it was pretty clear it was going to crumble at the slightest touch and then most of the basis for Dracula’s relationship with his daughter would be revealed to be completely fabricated and so the relationship between the two most important characters in the movie would be almost entirely built of lies while her father tries to intimidate and force Jonathan out of the hotel so that she can’t get to know him.  Especially since Mavis is an adult even by vampire reckoning at this point, this level of interference in her life was more annoying than endearing, and I thought she was remarkably chill about her dad being revealed to have been running a long-term con on his own daughter instead of trusting her.