The sequel to Genndy Tartakovsky’s entertaining “Hotel Transylvania” is what I’d define as blatant cash grab. It’s a follow up with a very typical and broadly written turn of events, what narrative it offers for the follow up is slim and often times nowhere to be found, all the while the sequel as a whole feels like a glorified pilot for the inevitable “Hotel Transylvania” TV show. I almost expect an announcement after the initial sales for the home video release about a TV show coming down the pipe. The movie essentially sets up characters for a TV series, and it’s barely competent as a sequel. Of course rather than focus on the dynamic between Mavis and new husband Johnny, we now view them as parents.
Apparently there’s nothing left to explore with these interesting complex characters from two different worlds of the normal and paranormal. Mavis reveals she’s able to have a child, and announces to her dad that she is pregnant. We pretty much zoom through the development of son Dennis, who is a character torn between two worlds as human and monster, even though we never quite feel the turmoil or conflict. The emphasis on Dennis just isn’t strong enough to create a complex enough protagonist, and he’s just not an interesting character. His whole tale about a child born from the supernatural who may not even be supernatural feels oddly derivative of “The Incredibles,” right down to the surprise twist climax. I’m not too sure why the writers had to push Mavis and Johnny aside so quickly in favor of a much younger protagonist we can follow when the aforementioned pair was so entertaining in the first place.
Mavis’ whole life as a sheltered only child living in a massive castle was interesting and I wouldn’t have minded seeing her explore the world more. Now that she’s a mother she almost wants to be sheltered now, and seeks to keep her son Dennis confined and coddled, while never noting the irony of how she’s pretty much developing in to her father. For what narrative there is, most of it consists of Dracula doing his best to bring the monster out of grandson Dennis to prevent Mavis from moving to California with Johnny and his family. They’re mostly just background characters now as the sequel is centered on the interplay between Dracula and his grandson. When we finally do get to the meat of the film we get to meet Dracula’s human hating father Vlad, and his army of giant man eating bats.
His introduction, back story, and personality is rushed through, left for the final fifteen minutes of the film, when it feels like it should have been the central premise the entire time. For what consolation there is, the animation is still sharp and very funny, with Tartakovsky’s signature brand of comedy translating well for computer animation. Plus, the sequel still retains a lot of the Halloween motif with much more monsters and a more restrained sense of the Adam Sandler over the top comedy present in the original film. And as mentioned, despite the derivative climax, its tops the film off with an exciting bit of action that emphasizes the film’s themes of acceptance and unconditional love. If we have to have a third film, I’d love to see Mavis and Johnny come back front and center/ As a follow up, “Hotel Transylvania 2” has its charms, but it disappoints with a script that feels sloppy and hastily slapped together.