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  Hotel Transylvania 2 Fangs But No Fangs
Year: 2015
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Dana Carvey, Rob Riggle, Mel Brooks, Asher Blinkoff, Jon Lovitz
Genre: Comedy, Animated, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Now Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) has seen his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) wed to a human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), he has mixed feelings, no matter that he has been on a blood substitute for some time and doesn't bother harming mere mortals anymore. He still operates his Hotel Transylvania where his guests are monsters of various types, and that's going well, but as time goes by after the marriage there are changes afoot when Mavis announces to him during one flight above the castle when they are in bat form that she is pregnant. He couldn't be happier, and makes plans for a new vampire in the family, but once the child is born he doesn't appear to be particularly vampiric at all...

The Adam Sandler-led cartoon Hotel Transylvania was a runaway success, so naturally as with every cartoon feature to generate even a modicum of profit, there was a sequel and this was it. The first one surprised a lot of people, not the diehard Sandler fans who liked anything he belched out anyway, but those harder to convince because it was actually quite well done and enjoyed a good number of laughs, possibly thanks to the presence of television toon legend Genndy Tartakovsky in the director's chair. OK, probably because of that. Thus the follow-up was another hit among viewers hoping for more of the same quality, or at least parents looking for something easy to watch to take their kids to.

But for many, the law of diminishing returns had set in already, rendering this less Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein or Mad Monster Party and more the low rent regions of semi-forgotten ephemera like The Groovy Goolies or Saturday the 14th. With the same director it did have the same wild energy and elastic character design, but something was missing; not perhaps the originality, since recasting classic monsters in comedy guise was less than fresh, but the broad wit had been replaced with rather obvious humour and a thick line of sentimentality and message-making that saw Drac try to come to terms with his grandson's non-monster status, something he is decreasingly optimistic about.

If you can't see where this was going, essentially an ending where the message of acceptance no matter what your race or background was made irrelevant for the sake of the potential storylines for a sequel, then you didn't know Sandler very well, though to be fair that was more dictated by the cartoon conventions as he didn't appear in many sequels himself, if you want to give him credit for something, however grudging that may be in some quarters. He re-recruited a bunch of his comedy mates to voice the creatures and humans, and given this was an easy enough gig they all did perfectly well, it's just the material was wanting and far less ambitious than even the initial instalment had mustered.

That plot? Once it was established the Count had reservations about his beloved grandson's mettle as a vampire, he contrived to toughen the kid up on a road trip with his pals Frankenstein's Monster (Kevin James), The Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), The Mummy (Kevin-Michael Keegan replacing CeeLo Green who had trouble with the law) and The Invisible Man (David Spade), though they all had mundane names aside from the purist-annoying Frankenstein('s Monster). Meanwhile Mavis was distracted by Jonathan who took her to visit his parents (Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman), though the question of why Drac didn't just bite the little kid and suck some of his blood or whatever you do to create a vampire that way was not broached. Maybe that was for the best, and it was nice to hear Mel Brooks as his father Vlad, the ultra-prejudiced vampire who naturally has his opinions reformed by the end (though no wonder, as he and Drac got their wish). It was busy, energetic, but somehow running on the spot for ninety minutes or so without much to show for its exertions. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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