Hotel Transylvania 2: EW review

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ has more heart, less raunch.

This hit franchise, obviously inspired by “The Addams Family,” upends the norm so that grotesque monsters, like a bloodthirsty vampire, and hideous behavior are acceptable, and the “straight” human world perceived as oddly strange.This summer has seen the likes of the emotional “Inside Out” and the brilliant claymation film “Shaun the Sheep.” But with the abundance of offerings on hand, not everything is going to reach those heights.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” reunites the cast of monsters and humans from the 2012 animated feature, although the tone is more sentimental and less raunchy. However, “Hotel 2” centers on an overly possessive dad Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) who can’t let go when his only daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) marries her laid-back California human slacker sweetheart Jonathan (Andy Samberg). The sequel “Hotel Transylvania 2” is cute and diverting enough, with a heartfelt family message, and unique style, but it probably won’t be joining the pantheon of animated classics. The newlyweds live with her pops in Drac’s castle/hotel, and once Drac’s adored “poisonberry” is pregnant, he goes into overdrive, worrying whether he will have a vampire grandson or, ghouls forbid, a human. This propels Drac to go to great and dangerous lengths to ensure that by the kid’s fifth birthday the fangs that signify his vampire origin will finally appear, even if he has to be shocked and traumatized in the process.

This vampire-human union is at the crux of the tension in the story, particularly the fruit of that union, little Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) Dracula is obsessed with Dennis being a vampire, although his head of curly red hair doesn’t bode well for the moppet. The script by Sandler and Robert Smigel is largely by the numbers: Dennis must pop his fangs by his 5th birthday or he never will — and that’s just a week away! While Mavis struggles with whether Dennis should grow up with humans in California, Papa Drac takes his grandchild for a rollicking road trip to learn how to be a monster. Instead here is Drac, who doesn’t want his daughter to ever leave the nest, much less move to that human-dominated sunshine state, and that’s truly twisted. Although there are entertaining gags about Dracula struggling to use a smartphone and Mavis not understanding a mini-mart, the real fun comes from the animation, especially of Jonathan.

Mel Brooks manages a vivid vocal cameo as Vlad, Dracula’s nonpossessive father who is “old school,” meaning he hates, despises and devours humans, and the notion of his son hosting humans at his hotel is as repulsive as the idea of letting a human walk by without having their blood sucked. The animation is done in director Genndy Tartakovsky’s unmistakable style, as seen in the series “Samurai Jack” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” The film is clearly a labor of love and a family affair for co-writer Sandler, whose daughter Sadie voices the ferociously cute werewolf pup Winnie. He’s brought his whole crew along, too: Co-writer Robert Smigel provides a voice, as do Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, and even Dana Carvey as an overly cautious vampire camp counselor. As he proved in the TV series “Samurai Jack,” Genndy Tartakovsky is a talented director who knows how to telegraph what an animated character is thinking and doing and how to move a character in ways that suggest personality. It’s a sweet enough, amiable story about acceptance and family, but the jokes barely rise to the level of the “101 Halloween Jokes for Kids” book I had when I was ten-years-old.

Playing: SilverCity Ancaster, Jackson Square, SilverCity Oakville, SilverCity Burlington, Oakville Mews Encore, SilverCity Hamilton Mountain, 5 Drive-In (Oakville), Starlite Drive-In,

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