Friday, December 04, 2015

Just Like the First One, 'Hotel Transylvania 2' Is Fun but Critically Underappreciated

The first Hotel Transylvania movie was a fun, underrated movie.  Sure, it was far from being a timeless classic, but it was more hilarious, thoughtful, and heartfelt than most critics give it credit for.  I enjoyed it.  Same thing with Hotel Transylvania 2: it’s actually better than what its critical reception implies, and I enjoyed it as much as its predecessor.

In Hotel Transylvania 2, Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) get married and have a son, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff).  Meanwhile, no longer hateful, Drac (Adam Sandler) has opened his hotel to humans; however, he is still adamant with regards to his grandson’s vampire side.  Desperate to bring out the monster in Dennis before his fifth birthday, Drac enlists the help of his friends to “motivate” the boy to become a vampire while his parents are away on vacation.

Just like with the first one, my favorite thing about this movie is its “monster squad” characters.  If this movie was exclusively centered on Drac and his friends – Frank (Frankenstein’s Monster), Wayne (werewolf), Griffin (invisible man), Murray (mummy),  and Blobby (blob) – going on a road trip, I would have been just as satisfied – maybe even more so.  They were a delight to watch, and the gags revolving around them are very funny.

The plot is predictable – the trailer really gave out so much of it (my first major problem about this movie) – but it’s still essentially entertaining.  Just like the first movie, the message of Hotel Transylvania 2 is clichéd, but delivered it creatively well that it still manages to hit home and be touching; however, the resolution of the dilemma (my second major problem about this movie) kind of lessened the impact.  The humor isn’t totally hysterical, but it kept me consistently grinning and chuckling (I was greatly amused by the reference to the 90’s Dracula movie starring Gary Oldman).

I only have three major problems with this movie.  I already pointed out the first two above.  The third one is that Jonathan, the human character, is underused.  In the first movie, his compelling, laid back, and cheerful presence turned the Hotel and its inhabitants upside down – reforming it for the better.  This time around, I was kind of disappointed that the character doesn’t have much impact.

If you enjoyed the first Hotel Transylvania movie, as I did, you will also enjoy this sequel easily.  It’s probably not in par with the kind of animated masterpieces that Disney and Pixar (the benchmarks for awesome animated movies) produce, but it’s still a very fun movie with an important lesson to tell.

And critics should stop automatically hating just because a movie has Adam Sandler in it.  Seriously, Minions is slightly rated higher than Hotel Transylvania 2 when the latter is actually more purposeful and wholesome, and has more substance and cleverer jokes.   

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