Nice it is that it all worked out for the caricature horror characters in the first Hotel Transylvania, they did not need to drag Mel Brooks, kicking and screaming, into this series. That is just foul play. Genndy Tartakovsky returns to the chair behind the camera for another antic-filled outing for these characters turned brand. Where it is hard to argue with the quality of animation found in the character designs and the bright and sparkly monsters that appear throughout Hotel Transylvania 2, it is easy to knock its dull story and exasperated ensemble striking out once again. The “old-school” vampire coming to knock out the new age of monsters accepting humans into their ranks with a sequel that clutches at straws.
Although the time skips and settling into the new lifestyle of this family is removed, Hotel Transylvania 2 is a feature infused with sight gags. Adam Sandler’s vampiric impression is ultimately a dud. At least there is consistency in the push forth for a sequel. Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez may have all the chemistry of a wet blanket, but the necessity to have the two together is underwhelming. Pregnancy and cravings are all it takes for a new spanner of problems to irk the characters. Formidable it may be to have so many members of the ensemble return, why bother? They are all useless and dull. Steve Buscemi and David Spade return more for their friendship with Sandler than any love for the art of animation and the Hotel Transylvania storyline.
But neither does the director. From a wedding to the first birthday of a child in record time, Tartakovsky proves that subtext is for cowards and steady storytelling is for the weak of heart. Engage with the jokes or do nothing at all. The story fires through at record speed and annoyingly so. Lifetime memories and opportunities to flesh out these characters are caricatures and uneventful, rather than experiences that can form opportunities to teach children or engage with the smaller parts of the ensemble. Jokes about apps and Facebook, the modern age brought to a hotel that mainly caters to the deceased. One or two jokes shine through with relative success, but they are few and far between and not all that memorable. Throwaway gags that have little effort thrown into them are far more successful than those planned and prepped by the producers and suits that need to sell the project as a product.
Expect nothing more from Hotel Transylvania 2. It is a pop culture-clad animation with little need for its experiments in fielding funds from products and albums. Straddling the human and horror relationship for two families that collided in the first film in much the same way, Hotel Transylvania is more of an undesirable rehash of events already told than something necessary and new. Infectiously uneventful and relatively predictable, it will offer little to the target audience and even less than that to those suffering through for the benefit of others. For the right demographic, it could work as a passive and indirect feature, with more depth than the Illumination Entertainment alternative. But if the choice is between two alternating animated features with similar segments and themes, then there is no choice at all. Family is important, that is all there is to it.