Monday, September 28, 2015

Movie Review #315: "Hotel Transylvania 2" (2015)

Movie"Hotel Transylvania 2"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
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Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) have gotten married and have been living at the Hotel Transylvania ever since, which now allows humans to stay there. A short time later, Mavis gets pregnant and gives birth to a son named Dennis (Asher Blinkoff). They are raising him in the hotel, but as they start to close in on his 5th birthday, Dennis still appears to be totally human and hasn't shown any monster traits, especially his fangs. Dracula (Adam Sandler) is worried that Dennis may never show his monster traits and Mavis starts to think it would be a good idea to raise him among humans. Dracula and his friends send Dennis through a crash course in monster training in the hopes that his monster side will come out and Mavis and her family won't leave the hotel.

The general premise of sequel "Hotel Transylvania 2" is pretty much the same as the original. Dracula doesn't want Mavis, and in this case the rest of her new family, to leave the hotel. Though Drac's reasons have changed, as well as his methods of attempting to get them to stay, the intentions are relatively similar to those of the first film, which boasted a decent enough animated comedy. Here, Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez, and Johnny, voiced by Andy Samberg, have gotten married and have had a child named Dennis, voiced by Asher Blinkoff, an adorable little boy who is about to turn 5 years old. Marvis has gotten it into her mind that a move away from the hotel might be good for their family in order for Dennis to socialize with humans, but Drac is convinced Dennis has a monster inside of him. If Dennis hasn't gotten in his vampire fangs before his 5th birthday, though, instead of having monster abilities like his mother, Dennis might be completely human like his father for the rest of his life. Drac and all the usual suspects like Frankenstein, voiced by Kevin James, Griffin the invisible man, voiced by David Spade, Murray the Mummy, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and replacing Cee-Lo Green from the first film, and Wayne the Werewolf, voiced by Steve Buscemi, must take Dennis on a monster-in-training crash course to all their old stomping grounds while Mavis and Johnny visit Johnny's parents in California, scoping it out to see if they should move there. Of course, shenanigans ensue, and instead of teaching Dennis how to be a vampire, what they end up doing is finding out that their own abilities have really gotten away from them, unwilling to scare and hunt like they did in their prime and growing soft in their old ages. Upon Mavis and Johnny's return, Drac has screwed up one too many times, and once his father Vlad, voiced by the incomparable Mel Brooks, who hates humans, finds out Dennis is half-human, half-vampire, things are about to get crazy up in the Hotel Transylvania.

Keeping in line with the first film in the franchise, this movie is pretty good, but it's not perfect. BigJ's rating slipped a little from that of the first film, finding it a little less funny and too much of the same rehashed plot points from the original. I laughed much more than I anticipated, especially for a sequel from Adam Sandler and his friends. Again, just like the original, there are a lot of bodily humor and fart jokes, because children apparently have short attention spans and only understand crass butt noises. Apart from these jokes, there are a few lines definitely intended for the adults in the crowd, which is something we missed from the first film. Newcomer Asher Blinkoff has the cutest voice as Dennis, the stereotypical big smiled, wide-eyed child with an innocence about him. As Drac and his friends teach him to become a monster, Dennis still favors Cakey the monster the best, a muppet-like cake lover who is on the television, much to the real monsters' chagrin. It's moments like these that set it apart from being just another bad animated movie, and though it's not perfect, we still didn't hate it. It has enough wackiness to go around, and a few scenes we quite enjoyed. We really liked watching Mavis explore California like a literal kid in a candy store, getting rainbow colored teeth from a 24/7 mini mart slushee machine. To me, though, once Mavis and Johnny have Dennis, Mavis seemed to become a bitchy, overprotective control freak, always yelling at Johnny and everyone else for no reason. In a way, this mirrors how real parents (not all, but some) can get and act upon having their first child. This is exactly what the first movie did, just the with mom-ster stereotype in places of the others from the original.

Somehow, even with the same plot points and 'crude' jokes, I thought "Hotel Transylvania 2" managed to be silly and cute enough for kids, and this time, adults might actually be able to have a little bit of fun, too. It's almost enough to make you forget you're paying to watch an Adam Sandler romp, but just only.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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