The dad-daughter vampire duo are back in what was previously an enjoyable franchise, Hotel Transylvania, but this time on, they have baggage, in the shape of Mavis’ hipster husband and her adorable baby.
The movie begins with a grand wedding reception for Mavis Dracula and Johny Loughrun (Andy Samberg) — a true blue monster ball with wailing banshees, wobbly monsters, his trusted butler Frankenstein (or Frankenstein’s monster as he will correct you) and every other kind of anomaly that mankind imagined in animated monster form. The event is also graced by decidedly uncomfortable humans who make up the groom’s side of the family — a mother who seems inspired by Hillary Clinton, for starters, and some arbitrary freckly cousins with a shock of red hair. The child, when he is born seems to have taken after the father rather than the mother — his head is full of baby red curls, his
Vampa (What else can a vampire grandpa be?) is on a mission to make his tame cutesy grandson into a real vampire, with fangs and a love for all things monster. His adorable grandchild however refuses to indulge any of his nocturnal wishes, right from the basic staying awake at night.
Mavis in turn, has become a momzilla, from baby-proofing the entire hotel to listening to her human in-laws over her vampire daddy. Voiced by Adam Sandler, who has got under the skin of the character, Count Dracula settles into vampa-hood very comfortably; second only to Mavis in his concern and care for his grand-child.
The film falls flat due to the same reasons that made it work last time: the monster jokes have not been updated; they seem repetitive and the script is lazily written. It doesn’t take a studio screenwriter to tell what will transpire after a human gets down-to-the-dirty with a vampire — enough people have unfortunately been afflicted by the Twilight series to know what transpires next, and think along similar lines. This gives the movie a tepid feel of a badly written sitcom — while there are some formulaic jokes that you may indulge in, most of the film moves so smoothly, it’s not an unlikely possibility that you dose off and still feel like you didn’t miss much of the script. It doesn’t help that either most of the characters are old, or flat in this thankfully short film.
There are some half hearted attempts at running parallel commentaries about this generation’s love for the relatively tame “health food trends” and technology that makes them softer than previous generations. The werewolf has forgotten how to hunt, he loves running around to fetch however. Mavis keeps feeding her baby avocado instead of disgusting monster food, and the only monster he likes to watch on television is called Cakey, and looks right out of Sesame Street. Mavis’ baby loves to have avocados, a topic much discussed in the film for some odd reason; our guess is the reason lies in the paucity of other interesting elements in a wit drained script.
Hotel Transylvania 2 disappoints, and reminds us how the audience is a puppet in the filmmakers’ vision. It is important to hold on to the illusion, and build a world that provides scope for its’ audience to imagine and envision, especially when we are talking about fantasy. Unfortunately, this sequel breaks down the wonderful world of this gothic hotel that Count Dracula and his teenage crisis daughter lived, until invaded by a lovable, bumbling human. Right now, it seems the team is heavily inspired from hackneyed family sitcoms, with Count Dracula crippled in his role as a caricatured, parodied father-in-law, Mavis a bundle of motherly emotions, and her husband Johnny a plain idiot.
As the bigger picture comes together, the film takes a turn into something that plays out almost like moral allegory. About two-thirds of the way in the perspective switches from Robyn’s to Simon’s, a move that really illuminates the latter’s role in this interpersonal drama, bringing the film’s notions about moral reparations and the ghosts of the past to a boil. There are no cheap stalk-and-slash sequences and the violence is almost entirely of the emotional kind. Edgerton is interested in who these characters are, what they’ve done to each other and the lasting trauma left by those actions. In other words, unlike most filmmakers who set out to make these movies, he’s genuinely invested in the first half of the phrase “psychological thriller.”