Kids version time! This film is first up because 1) this movie is still in theaters, and 2) hello; I love Hotel Transylvania. So let’s get started.
“We don’t need to kill anymore. We’ve got Pop Tarts.”
Story: Drac loves that Mavis has found her “Zing”, even though Johnny is a human. But when baby makes three — and there’s no certainty that little Dennis is vampy — Mavis considers moving away from the Hotel so her son can fit in with others like him. Cue Drac going bonkers…and a visit from “VampPop” Vlad!
Scares: Very few, as vamps get red-eyed. Even then, only for the very wee.
Nightmare Factory?: A few of Vlad’s sidekicks can be spooky for little ones (think the Man-Bat from Bram Stoker’s Dracula) but mostly HT2 goes out of its way to make sure it’s all in good fun.
Based on…?: Hotel Transylvania.
Trick or Treat?: If you and/or the little ones around you enjoyed Hotel Transylvania, you can rest assured that the same silly, heartwarming stuff will be served up in this sequel.
I loved that werewolf tyke Winnie gets more screentime here, though I do miss her spiked collar. I also love that they’ve brought back much of the ol’ crew for this sequel, including director Genny Tartakovsky and the whole voice cast. (Okay, not the whole voice cast; CeeLo Green was ousted after his incredibly thickheaded comments about sexual assult on the Twitter, and now Keegan-Michael Key voices Murray the Mummy.) Oh, and fans of Mel Brooks will have to wait ’til the end of the film for Vlad. I’d have liked to have had more familial angst, but I guess they covered hide-the-human in the original. Okay, fine.
My only hiccup with this film is the story, which crammed six years into the opening scenes. Yes, we need to get to where little Dennis is approaching his fifth birthday. But the wedding, pregnancy, birth, infancy and toddler-hood all feel a bit rushed. The story itself isn’t as cohesive as the original, with constant back-and-forthing from Drac, Dennis and the gang & Mavis visiting the in-laws in Cali. I’m not sure if a longer film was the answer, or a smoother screenplay. Probably the latter. However, the peek-a-boo flying scene between Mavis and Drac is adorable, and just the start of the family-bond theme that runs through this film and the original.
HT2 also covers the “then vs. now” parenting back and forth, and how today’s parents tend to hover. (Or in Mavis’ case, float close by.) It’s a neat trick that this film is able to show the positives and negatives for both eras, while keeping things light, friendly and funny. And “learn to accept people for who they are” isn’t a bad message at all.
Psst: Johnny’s parents, aka Mavis’ in-laws? Voiced by none other than Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman. Yeah baby.
Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.