Hotel Transylvania 2, by Albert W. Vogt III

Okay, here is the review of Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015).

Hotel Transylvania 2 picks up pretty much where Hotel Transylvania (2012) concluded. Dracula’s (voiced by Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is getting married to the idiot human backpacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg) who haphazardly stumbled upon the title resort in the last film. In yet another logic defying plot point, shortly after their wedding they have a son who they name Dennis (Asher Blinkoff). Because this is a children’s movie, they do not spend any time worrying about biology, or the fact that vampires are immortal and dad will die long before mom and son, but whatever. As for Dracula’s ridiculous chosen trade, business is booming because humans are now allowed and accepted at the hotel. Still, the (what I will resignedly call) tension of the film is whether or not Dennis will be a vampire. Despite not seeing mankind as monstrous anymore, Dracula is still clinging to the hope that Dennis will sprout fangs. Mavis seems pretty content, if over-protective, with whichever her son becomes, though for the first five years of the boy’s life he is by all appearances and behaviors human. Dracula comes to the baffling conclusion that his grandson needs to be pushed (scared out of his wits, actually) into becoming who he truly is meant to be. In order to effect this metamorphosis, he sends Mavis and Jonathan back to his son-in-law’s home in California. Mavis goes along with it because she is thinking of moving her family there so that Dennis can get to grow up in the “real world” unlike her own upbringing. While Dennis’ parents are away, Dracula takes the boy, along with his other fiendish friends, in order to introduce what it is like to be a monster. Dracula tells Mavis that he will keep Dennis at the hotel, safe and sound. But when Mavis calls her father to check in and notices fire in the background and emergency personnel, she takes on her bat form, clutches Jonathan and his precious backpack, and flies back to Transylvania. Somehow they make it all the way to Transylvania to arrive at the same time as Dracula and company . . . despite being on the other side of the planet. Alright, I need to calm down. Anyway, Mavis is understandably upset and vows after Dennis’ fifth birthday party that they are going to leave for California. What upsets this is the appearance of her grandfather Vlad (Mel Brooks) at the party, who (despite the source material) is a different vampire still clinging to his old anti-human prejudices. He also has a legion of giant, talking vampire bats that desire to eat every human they see. After running away from the party proceeding yet another attempt to scare the fangs out of him, this time by Vlad, Dennis is attacked by Vlad’s minions. This is when Dennis finally becomes a vampire and, joined by everyone else from the party, they fight off the bat horde and decide to stay at the hotel. Insert fart noise here.

There is nothing new about Hotel Transylvania 2 that was not introduced in its predecessor. Oooo, will Dracula finally accept humans? Who cares? While he does allow them into his hotel, he spends the majority of the film hoping Dennis becomes a monster. And when Dracula seems to finally come around to the notion that Dennis is fine no matter what he is, the moment is deflated when they make Dennis a vampire anyway. From there it dissolves into cartoon action schlock. Thematically speaking, it would have driven home the lesson learned by Dracula had his grandson stayed human. I thought these movies were all about accepting others for who they are, no? Would it not have made a bigger statement had his own flesh and, er, blood turned out like you and me? Whatever.

The part of Hotel Transylvania 2 that most troubled me, though, was how they treated Dennis’ transformation. In the previous film, they refer to falling in love as “zinging.” Why they cannot just say “love,” I do not know, but that is a separate issue. Now, it should be emphasized here that Dennis is five. Not 105, but the normal fifth year that anyone of us have experienced, sans monsters, of course. Yet, he has apparently already “zinged” with one of Wayne the Wolf Man’s (Steve Buscemi) myriad pups, the only girl one apparently, Winnie (Sadie Sandler). Also, whether or not Dennis becomes a vampire is treated almost like getting to puberty. People who do not reach this developmental stage in real life are referred to as “late bloomers,” and in the film Dennis not getting the requisite teeth is termed being a “late fanger.” For what it is worth, the Catholic Church considers someone to be essentially consenting to the Faith when they take Communion for the first time, usually about seven years of age. But for a child of roughly the same age to suddenly become a vampire with all that entails seems, to me, to be a bit much.

Anyway, there is my review of Hotel Transylvania 2. I cannot wait to see Hotel Transylvania 3 tonight . . . so I can put this franchise behind me and never had to see or think about it again! As I said yesterday, these films are not aimed at me. And I will admit the message of acceptance is notable. However, it is also a bland, limp-wristed, film that I would be cautious with, as silly as that might seem.

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