- Posted by Giaco Furino
- On September 25, 2015
- 0 Comments
- Adam Sandler, Dracula, Horror, Horror for kids, Hotel Transylvania 2
I sometimes wonder how my reviews are effected by the environment I watch them in. An empty Brooklyn movie theater, at 9:00am, has a different energy from a packed house on a Friday night. The movie, it’s script, visuals, craft, acting, that all has to come first, of course, but there’s something to be said about how a reviewer sees a movie. It’s why, whenever possible, I skip the screener DVD’s and go see it in real life. I’m thinking about all this because I saw Hotel Transylvania 2 in a theater weirdly packed with laughing, hooting, hollering children… and it was awesome!
I now get why network TV adds laugh tracks. Jokes that were admittedly corny were given a gleeful resurrection thanks to the chortling of kids and parents all around me. I was sucked in, and I have my fellow theater-mates to thank for it.
The story of Hotel Transylvania 2 picks up seven years after the events of the first movie. Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) marries the goofy human Jonathan (Andy Samberg). Soon after, they have a little boy named Dennis and the big question is: will he turn out to be human or vampire? Dracula’s become more accepting to humans, but he still hopes his grandson will turn out just like him. As the little boy’s 5th birthday draws close, time’s ticking before it’s too late for him to develop his fangs! Dracula and his pals take Dennis on a road trip to try and teach him how to be a monster, and calamity ensues.
The visuals in this movie are beautiful, smooth, and perfectly cartoonish for the subject matter. Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab) is back in the director’s chair again, giving the movie some directorial heft and an ease of action. Robert Smigel (the voice and brains behind Triumph, the insult comedy dog) returns for writing duty alongside Sandler with a script that’s surprisingly well-crafted for a kids’ movie, and everything in the story moves along nicely. The performances are all great, with special kudos going to Mel Brooks playing Vlad, Dracula’s ancient father.
The movie even touches upon bigger issues. Hidden under the monsters and humans, “can we ever live together!?” plot is a commentary on race relations. Mavis and her human hubby Jonathan go to visit his parents back in California, and her mom invites other “mixed couples” to join them for dinner, so our monster/human protagonists will feel more at ease. As another monster/human couple from the Cali neighborhood comes and says hi, both Mavis and Jonathan are embarrassed. No one feels like they’re in the right place, everyone feels like they’re bucking some sort of tradition, and in the end there’s a great message: be yourself, and be respectful of other people’s differences. I was charmed.
Some of the jokes fall flat, of course, but they fall flat for a grown man reviewing a children’s movie early on a Friday morning. They didn’t fall flat for the target demo, so what do I know? And I always cringe when kids’ movies include modern, top-of-the-charts hit songs, but I guess that’s what the kids are into, too!
Before I end up sounding older than the Mummy (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) I’ll leave you with this. If you want to instill a love of horror and the creepy/macabre in your kids, you should catch them up with the first Hotel Transylvania and then take them to see 2. It’s a scream, and next thing you know your little devil will be all grown up and watching The Abominable Dr. Phibes.