With the success of the first Hotel Transylvania (2012) Sony have made a sequel, and there’s just as much halloweeney family fun as the first! This film sees ‘the drac pack’ return- the familiar family of stock Halloween and gothic characters (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Werewolf) are once again up to adventures. But this time, they are joined by Drac’s new grandson, who is learning to be a monster. Hotel Transylvania is now ‘human friendly’ since Mavis and Johnny are now married. However, all the characters are struggling with combined worlds of the monsters and the humans. These are often brilliant struggles between the two, particularly Drac’s inability to master the new technology Jonny has introduced in the hotel.
The director, Genndy Tartakovsky, has taken all the best bits of the last film such as the crisp animation, combination of adult and child jokes and loveable ‘scary’ characters and doubled it. The humour is brilliant, accessible for all ages, with self-satire jokes about the trope of the gothic genre and the many adaptations of Dracula in the past (such as Johnny dressing up as the 1992 Gary Oldman version of a vampire) that are more aimed at adults. But of course there is the fun, action-packed, colourful humour for the kids (especially the puns such as ‘vampa’- vampire grandpa, and the supposedly frightening werewolf chasing a Frisbee like a dog).
For a film mostly marketed at kids, this sequel really explores a depth of the characters we didn’t see before. Drac (Adam Sandler) struggles with not knowing whether his grandson is a vampire or human on top of learning to love the humans as much as he loves the monsters. Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and newly wedded husband Jonny (Andy Samberg) struggle to decide which world is best to raise their child Dennis in- the monster world Mavis grew up in and loves or the safer human world. And of course there’s the brilliant monsters of the hotel causing trouble with famous voices that include Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade and Mel Brooks as Drac’s dad Vlad.
The problems with this film are few but obvious when watching the film as an adult. For example, the time line of events moves very quickly. Within the first half an hour, Mavis and Jonny are married, get pregnant, have the baby and he’s almost five- all before the main story actually starts. It seemed a shame that the wedding was skipped over as quickly as it was. The wedding scene was a particularly comical whilst also moving one, that played on the Dracula stereotypes with some clever smaller jokes such as the wedding ‘ice cream’ cake actually screaming.
The biggest problem with the film, however, is the overt product placement. The painfully obvious advertising of Sony products may not be so uncomfortable for the child viewers but seem much more out of place to the adults. An example of this is the placement of a Sony computer in an animation, and the use of Sony phones in every scene. It’s a shame because it almost seems like the story revolves around the Sony products, and the ‘modernisation’ of Hotel Transylvania isn’t for the humans guests in the hotel at all, but actually for the humans in the audience.
If you are able to look past this, the sequel was a great success. The film was visually beautiful, the storyline was clever and engaging and the characters are so lovable that it’s impossible to not feel like you want to go to Hotel Transylvania and be a guest yourself! Not to mention the pure adorable-ness of Mavis’ tiny red-headed son that should make even the toughest audience member go ‘’awwww!’’. If you’ve got an hour and a half to spare and you don’t fancy anything too heavy, I recommend a watch, and if you have even more time than that watch the first one too, because it’s a charming film that’s perfect for getting you in the Halloween spirit early.