Plot: Dracula has accepted his human son-in-law Jonathan, as he is good to his daughter Mavis and now that the couple has started, Dracula is now a proud grandfather to young Dennis. While he his views on humans have softened since Jonathan arrived at the hotel, Dracula still has hopes that his grandson will show some monster related traits, though it looks like that might not be the case. His fifth birthday approaches and of course, if any kind of monster abilities would surface by then, so Dracula is more than a little nervous about the situation. Especially since Mavis is hinting that a move to the human world might be a better fit for Dennis, where he can be around other humans and have a more normal life. So when Mavis and Jonathan take a trip to his hometown, Dracula watches Dennis and plans to bring out the monster in his grandson. But will Dracula’s anxieties push him to go too far in coaxing Dennis’ monster side to come out?
Entertainment Value: The original Hotel Transylvania wasn’t an animated classic, but it was a fun watch and made the most of the monster theme, with a wealth of in-jokes and references. This sequel retains the spirit of the first movie and builds on what worked well, but also adds some fresh twists. The movie keeps the focus on family drama and doesn’t go in depth, so those who prefer Pixar level narratives might be let down in that respect. But it offers a cute, competent story and surrounds it with a consistent flow of silly humor and of course, monster related madness. The monster theme is so embraced, even mundane sequences are spiced up, as the filmmakers always use that monster slant to keep things mixed up. The sense of humor is brisk and rapid fire, with jokes, sight gags, and pratfalls, but also more character driven humor than you might think. In other words, this sequel is rooted in the style of the original and while it does have some new threads, it is most likely to appeal to fans of the first movie more than anyone else. But I think it might even more fun than the original, so fans of silly, fun animation should check it out.
Hotel Transylvania boasted some terrific visual design elements and that continues here, as the movie is packed with all kinds of details and references. If you pause just about any scene, you’re bound to see some little touches or cues you might have missed, so the attention to detail is remarkable here. As a fan of the monster elements, this is great news, as there is so much horror related content here and it is fun to see how it is framed through a family friendly lens. The animation doesn’t have the polish or depth of some animated features, but it still looks vivid and impressive, just not quite on the same level as Pixar style work. Most of the original voice cast returns, with only one prominent role recast, thanks to CeeLo Green’s legal problems. Adam Sandler is back and some of the cast is made up of his usual crew, with Kevin James and David Spade on deck, as well as Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, and even Mel Brooks also on hand.