‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ Sucks Not in the Way it’s Supposed to

GameStop, Inc.

Hotel-Transylvania2.-poster

As much fun as the original Hotel Transylvania was a couple of years ago, where a father had to let his little girl grow up, its sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2 loses it’s humor when it’s undertone of interracial relationships bashes you over the head.

Drac (Adam Sandler) is thrilled to find out that Mavis (Selena Gomez) is with child, but once Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) is born, the possibility of him being human instead of vampire is too much for him to take. All-the-while, Jonathan’s (Andy Samberg) parents Mike (Nick Offerman) and Linda (Megan Mullally) want him to be “normal”.

Drac is so focused on Dennis being like his side of the family that the Frankenstein’s Monster (Kevin James), Wayne the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade) and Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key,) try to scare the fangs out of him to ensure he’s a vampire, even after Grandpa Drac professes, “Whether human, vampire, or unicorn, I love you”.

Now as Drac is trying to vamp up his grandson, Mavis is hoping to move to Jonathan’s old hometown of Santa Cruz, California…you know where the hippies where so high they thought they were headed to Oregon, but ended up going South of San Francisco instead.

Linda invites the other interspecies couples to prove they are open to monster relatives, when really all they want are “normal” grandchildren. She tries to make Mavis feel at home by using Halloween decorations to recreate the hotel. Once Mavis catches on to Drac’s plan she returns to Transylvania to take her son and return to the human world where she really doesn’t belong.

All goes array when Mavis invites old, unenlightened, and backwards great grandpa Vlad (Mel Brooks) to Dennis’ fifth birthday party. An elderly vampire that would rather dine on humans than with them.

Animation-wise, this sequel is visually stunning, but this is really just a cartoon version of Neil Diamond’s remake of The Jazz Singer. Vlad is Cantor Rabinovitch, stuck in his old ways and unaccepting of the secular world, in this sense, instead of clinging to his shtetl he’s hiding in his cave. Drac is Jess Robin, who has one foot in the old world and one foot in the new. It takes Jonathan aka Molly Bell to open Vlad’s eyes to what could be and that interspecies relations (aka religious difference) can be overcome through love.

The visual jokes are somewhat funny and kids will enjoy it, but the racial undertones are just a sledgehammer being dropped on the audience’s head. I asked director Genndy Tartakovsky about the racial messages and the desires of the grandparents. He basically said Linda is the example of people trying to understand racial differences without fully getting it and not being as accepting as they believed they were.

Really, if I wanted to watch The Jazz Singer, I would have watched the 1927 Al Jolson version. At least that’s credited as the first talkie. The movie didn’t come across as a commentary of acceptance but more, “I don’t care if you’re human, vampire or unicorn so long as you end up just like our side of the family.”

I loved the visual effects, I loved the animation, but the story is blah. Kids might love it. Die hard Adam Sandler fans might love it. People who want to use this as a springboard to discuss either having or raising interracial children could find it useful, but I am definitely not the target audience. There is talks of Hotel Transylvania 3 and for that, once the racial stuff is washed away, I’m pretty sure I will enjoy it as much as I did the original.

Hotel Transylvania 2 opens Friday, September 25, 2015

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