The making of both Hotel Transylvania features must have
been a massive behind-the-scenes balancing act between several creative visions.
Genndy Tartakovsky was brought into to direct the first film after years of
trial and error, bringing with him a 2-D comic sensibility that the 3-D artists
accommodated through several innovations, including a wilder freedom of
movement, a unique sense of timing and what they call the “Genndy blur,”
devised to make the quick, manic shifts smoother and more effective.
The two film projects also brought
Adam Sandler and members of his Saturday
Night Live posse, providing not only star power, but also a group of people
with immense writing and improv skills.
A sequel was most welcome,
as the possibilities created by the first movie cried out for more. This was
the opportunity to see these very appealing characters again, along with a
seemingly endless number of story angles: staying in the hotel, the in-laws,
the young couple’s adjustments to each other, the pregnancy, conflicts over
child rearing, dad’s meddling, etc. All of this ended up in the film in one way
or another, and while it’s all very entertaining, it does not feel as cohesive
as it did in the first feature.
To everyone’s credit, both
films are examples of how these elements can mesh to develop something
outstanding. The much-done monster sendup that had been done in everything from
The Munsters and The Addams Family to Mad
Monster Party and Love at First Bite
was given a twist in the first film by adding a doofy dude and putting him at
the center of a father’s love for his daughter, both of whom happen to be
vampires. It also made great use of the sympathetic monster/villain craze of recent
years, in which the monsters are fawned over rather than feared.
Perhaps because there were
too many options, there was reluctance to focus on fewer story aspects. The
nature of any creative project is such that, with no wrong answers, getting to
the solution is fraught with give-and-take. With so many top creative minds
involved in an all-star sequel to a hit film, the challenges of shaping and
reshaping every plot twist and comedy gag must more daunting than it might have
been had this been a lower-profile endeavor. But it is also clear that the
participants were united in their mutual respect and desire to make the movie
as good as it could possible be.
That said, Hotel Transylvania 2 is still an
eager-to-please, funny and entertaining sequel. If one made a checklist, it
would satisfy all the requirements for recapturing the fun of the original.
It’s also predictable, right down to the pop-out fangs. The major
plotline—whether the offspring of a vampire and a human would be able to do
vampire things—is reminiscent of a Bewitched
TV series episode in which Samantha’s father tries to convince his friends that
his grandson is a warlock.
That said, no one who loved
the first film should miss seeing the new one, despite a few warts. It’s
delightful to see the ghoulish gang again, doing funny things and making us
care about them.
It’s worth noting that the
Blu-ray includes TWO audio commentaries: one from director Tartakovsky and the
other from Sandler and co-writer Robert Smigel and executive producer Allen
Covert. Such commentaries are relatively economical to produce as bonus
features go–and there are legions of movie buffs that often make their decision
about choosing a “hard copy” over a download because on their presence. Also
among the features are deleted scenes, party suggestions, a music video, sketch
gallery, new character profiles, drawing lessons and a particularly nice
“how-to” sound effects segment about creating foley effects, Make the Scary, Silly Sounds of Hotel Transylvania 2 – with foley artist Robin Harlan. Here’s a exclusive clip from that:
Here are the rest of the details:
DVD Special Features (also on Blu-ray & Digital*)
- Fifth Harmony Music Video: “I’m In Love With A Monster”
- Character Sketch Gallery
- Feature Commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Allen Covert
- Feature Commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovsky
Blu-ray & Digital Exclusives*
All DVD Bonus Features Plus…
- Sing Along with Monster Scary-Oke!
- Deleted Scenes
- Make the Scary, Silly Sounds of Hotel Transylvania 2
- How to Throw The Ultimate Monster Party
- How to Draw Your Favorite Characters
- The New Guys: Meet Vlad, Dennis, Kakie and More!
* Digital Extras only available with iTunes Extras and Vudu Extras+
The Hotel Transylvania sequel reunites the ‘Drac’s Pack’, led by “Vampa” Drac (Adam Sandler) as they try to put Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny’s (Andy Samberg) son Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp to bring out his vampire side. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad (Mel Brooks) is about to pay the family a visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pure blood and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania, it doesn’t take long for things to get batty.
The record-breaking film, which scored the best September opening of all-time previously held by the original Hotel Transylvania and was the #1 family film internationally for eight consecutive weeks, also features Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2), David Spade (TV’s “Rules of Engagement”), Steve Buscemi (TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”), Keegan-Michael Key (TV’s “Key and Peele”), Molly Shannon (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) and Fran Drescher (TV’s “The Nanny”). Hotel Transylvania 2 marks the return of 3-time Primetime Emmy winning director Genndy Tartakovsky (Star Wars: Clone Wars), along with producer Michelle Murdocca (Hotel Transylvania). The screenplay is by Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel (TV’s “SNL”).