Hotel Transylvania 2
Sequel to the successful animation is suitably silly and a marginal improvement
As part of 2012’s burst of Gothic-flavoured animation, which included the superior ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania found a huge audience by reviving Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and other horror movie staples for a new generation. Dumbed down to the level of star Adam Sandler’s recent toxic output, the film's success and its low-brow humour made a sequel both inevitable and seemingly instantaneous. Thankfully, this second helping is marginally better than the first.
With humans and monsters both happy to stay at his hotel, Count Dracula (Sandler) has pressing family issues to deal with. His daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) has produced a grandson by way of Jonathan (Andy Samberg), but the boy is showing little inclination to keep up with the family’s blood-sucking traditions. Engineering a trip to the States for Jonathan and Mavis as a diversion, Dracula gathers his monster pals together for a rites-of-passage road trip with his grandson, aware that his own domineering father, Vlad (Mel Brooks) expects evidence that the boy appreciates his vampire heritage.
The comic presence of Brooks, who created effective horror pastiche Young Frankenstein in 1974, is one of the fresh elements which give returning director Genndy Tartakovsky more to play with here. There’s also half-decent satire of over-protective parenthood trends, as Dracula attempts to make sure his castle is child-safe. Returning members of Sandler’s repertory company of performers (Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade) are all thankfully submerged in their roles, and the comedy is more character-based, with room for obvious sight gags – the best of which revolve around viscous man / jelly Blobby (Jonny Solomon).
Parents may feel that Brooks did all of this with much more zip and affection in the aforementioned Young Frankenstein. But at least Hotel Transylvania 2 lives up to its meagre promise of simple, silly jokes and equally groan-worthy life-lessons.
General release from Fri 16 Oct.