These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Some may recall my review of the original. I enjoyed it just fine, though I don’t think it’s anything particularly special on the whole. But I liked it enough to want to see the upcoming sequel, which seemed funny and enjoyable enough as well. Fast-forward to today, the movie’s out and I’ve heard nary a peep from critics or anyone about how good the movie was. Having nothing to go off of, and great motivation considering the last few movies have been kind of dark and heavy, I needed something lighter and fun to watch. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 seemed like a good bet to break the mold.
Starring: Adam Sandler (THE RIDICULOUS 6 , PIXELS , and the upcoming HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION ), Asher Blinkoff (SING  and THE JUNGLE BOOK ), and Selena Gomez (NEIGHBORS 2 , BIG SHORT , and upcoming films HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 and A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK)
Support: Andy Samberg (BRIGSBY BEAR , STORKS , and the upcoming HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3), Fran Drescher (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA , and upcoming films HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 and THE CREATRESS ), Mel Brooks (LEAP! , and the upcoming HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3), Keegan-Michael Key (THE STAR , DON’T THINK TWICE , TOMORROWLAND , and upcoming films HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 and THE PREDATOR ), and Kevin James (PIXELS, and the upcoming HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3)
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, and the upcoming HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3)
Writers: Robert Smigel (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA) and Adam Sandler (THE RIDICULOUS 6)
Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh (THOR: RAGNAROK , PITCH PERFECT 2 , and upcoming films HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 and THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART )
Editor: Catherine Apple (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA)
This is my honest opinion of: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2
Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Jonathan (Andy Samberg) are finally married. Not long after, Mavis gives birth to Dennis (Sunny Sandler – baby, and Asher Blinkoff – older). But as Dennis gets older, and it becomes more worrying that Dennis may be more human than vampire, Mavis starts to worry that maybe the hotel isn’t the safest place for Dennis, despite baby-proofing the entire hotel. She then decides that maybe he should be raised around other humans, like where Jonathan was raised, back in California. But Drac (Adam Sandler), once again, can’t stand the thought of his family being separated. Believing that Dennis is just a late fanger, as in he has until he’s five years old until his fangs grow in, he is determined to prove that Dennis is more vampire than human, which will prove he’s strong enough to be among those he identifies as family and friends.
I honestly think it’s better than the first one. But that may not mean a whole lot considering that the movie is just a rehash.
The first movie was about Drac’s inability to let go of Mavis wanting to be free and see the world for what it really is instead of being sheltered away by her dad’s lies and over-protection. In short, the movie is about over-protective parenting… which is what THIS movie is about. Yup, Drac can’t deal with the idea of Mavis moving away. Dear god, the story is barely trying. I admit, though, it’s odd that I’m so baffled by this because the trailers depict the story exactly as it’s executed. Why didn’t I make that connection before? I don’t know, maybe I was more excited for this movie than I let on even to myself, but man, what a let down as far as a continued narrative is concerned. But as the movie stands, yeah, it’s serviceable.
There’s a lot of quirks of Drac’s that seem to carry over from the last film. Which is weird because I thought the point of the last film was that he would get past that, but he’s still kind of over-bearing. It’s also a tad annoying that Mavis has the same quirks. Thankfully the story doesn’t quite linger on those aspects for too much, but Drac’s are still front and center.
I also have to say something about the sheer size of the cast. Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman (okay, he’s given some fun screen time), Dana Carvey, Rob Riggle, Jon Lovitz, Nick Swardson, you honestly wouldn’t guess half of them were in the movie. Oh alright, Drescher stands out, but again, she has like, what, four lines in the entire movie? How do you have someone of Drescher’s caliber, or Shannon’s, and NOT use them? I mean, everyone else is fine, but still. And Spade? His inclusion as the invisible man is such a lame idea because not only does he barely get any lines, at least by comparison to the rest of the main cast, he doesn’t wear anything that makes him distinguished. Those glasses barely count. You could easily forget that he was in the movie at all. Seriously, the sheer amount of star power is unnecessary in this movie and yet, look at the cast list.
But I do have to say, the worst is by far Mel Brooks. Oh no, don’t get me wrong, he himself is such a pleasure to hear as Vlad, but… the trailer didn’t lie. He’s only in the last five seconds of the trailer, well, he’s only in the last ten or fifteen minutes left of the movie. How do you do that? It’s MEL BROOKS!!! His character is sloppily built up, almost as if he’d end up being cut from the movie at the last second, but instead, it’s almost worse. He’s TACKED ON at the last second. He’s there specifically to have a sudden and relatively pointless climax that kind of ruins the message of the story (which I will tackle in a bit). Ultimately, I feel like his purpose was to remind the audience just how much of a rehash this movie is of the original because as soon as he arrives, Drac has to hide the humans and masquerade them as monsters… again. Only real difference is that now it’s done in the span of ten minutes as opposed to an hour and a half. The lack of originality is just maddening.
Now, for the morals and messages the movie is trying to convey. They are ALL over the place. Drac is still overbearing and afraid of Mavis leaving the nest, but then it somehow becomes whether or not Drac can accept whether or not Dennis is a human or vampire, even though that’s never an issue that’s brought up… at all in the movie. Yes, he spends the entire movie trying to make him more of a vampire, NOT because he wants Dennis to be a vampire and not a human, but because he believes if Dennis becomes a vampire, it’ll prove he belongs with everyone in the hotel. So why is there a question where there’s no build up to it?
Honestly though, despite my ravings on what I didn’t like, there are so many good ideas in this story. They’re just not realized. For example, going back to the whole, “morals all over the place” thing with me, I think the one moral that should have been touched upon more was this: every time when a family moves, it’s obviously because the adults choose it. Work, better environment for the children, both, there’s no real bad reason, but no matter the reason, the child must come to grips with losing their friends and the only place they identify as “home.” I mean, sure, the idea is touched upon in the movie INSIDE OUT, but that’s when the move is complete and adaptation to the new environment is needed. But since Dennis is so much younger than INSIDE OUT’s Riley, such a big step would be noticeably hard on him. The only time we ever see what goes on in his mind is toward the end when he says that he doesn’t really want to move away. I think if done right, that angle could have been a lot more interesting than Drac’s recycled insecurities despite Dennis being only five years old.
Speaking of Dennis, I think my favorite new element to the story is the relationship between Dennis and Winnie the werewolf pup. Although they don’t share too much screen time together, when they are, they are just so cute together. But more than that, while Dennis’ family argues over whether or not staying is safe for him, Winnie seems to be the only one who seems interested in what he wants for himself. I think their interactions feel pretty genuine and heart-warming, especially seeing how open he is with her as opposed to his direct family.
Man, I had so much negative to say, one would think I hated this movie. Actually, I really don’t. At least, not in the moment. There are a few good jokes here and there, the gross-out humor has been whittled down to only one, and the characters are still as enjoyable as before. Actually, I really hope this movie does well, but I really want an original story out of the inevitable third movie and toss away Drac’s insecurities. Mavis isn’t leaving the hotel. NO ONE’S LEAVING THE HOTEL, WE GET IT!!! It is a fun kids movie when it’s trying to be, but I do feel like this was a missed opportunity. Not terrible, but not very good either.
My honest rating for HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2: 3/5