It feels like, in recent years, the general public has gotten tired of seeing Adam Sandler on film. Many of his jokes seem tired, over-done and generally ridiculous. Gone are his glory days of Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy and more. It is not that he is producing completely different movies and alienating his audience, it is in fact the opposite, he is alienating his audience by pumping out movies that offer the same Adam Sandler-schtick since the 1990’s and the audience has caught on and demand something different. Pixels is among one of his more recent critical-failures but lets not forget (the forgettable) Blended or the abysmal Jack and Jill. And honestly, I actually enjoyed Pixels, I blame a lot of the negative reviews on the fact that people hated it because it was an “Adam Sandler”-movie. I for one think its time for Happy Madison Productions to stop making movies and that Sandler should go back to just purely being an actor.
But not all might not be lost just yet, after all his movies still make money. Pixels alone brought in brought in $286 million on a budget of less than $100 million. So his movies still MAKE money– people just hate them. He does have one vestige of hope in voice-acting as that appears to, generally, allow him to get some better ratings that in his usual movies. Hotel Transylvania 2 recently released on September 25th and is a sequel to its predecessor sharing the same name (accept “2” obviously). It follows all the events of the first film–that, I should state for the record, I did not see at all. But the commercials for the movie seemed charming and adorable, featuring a would-be ginger-vampire that looks like he might be the cutest thing ever, so I decided to give the film a shot and hope for the best?
After the events of the first film, Dracula (Sandler) has opened up his hotel to humans as well as non-humans and it seems like things are changing for the better. Mavis (Selena Gomez) , his daughter, has gotten married to the protagonist in the first film, Johnny (Andy Samberg) and they eventually, or rather quickly, have a child named Dennis. Dennis appears to be human, as he bares to claws or fangs or any other abnormalities, which worries Dracula that Dennis might be human. And who wants a human baby when you can have an awesome Vaby (Vampire-Baby)?
Dracula believes Dennis to be a “late-fanger” like he was, but gets increasingly worried as the child nears his fifth year of age because if he doesn’t grow fangs by then…he never will. To make matters worse, Mavis believes that Dennis is most likely human and is worried about his safety growing up among werewolves and other monsters as he just doesn’t fit in. She starts considering moving her family to where Johnny was born–among the humans which causes Dracula to attempt to take more drastic measures for Dennis to grow out his vampire fangs. He sends Mavis and Johnny to their human in-laws residence in the guise of wanting them to take a break as well as scout out their soon-to-be new home. However, he plans to take Dennis on a week-long excursion with other monster-buddies to teach Dennis how to be a “real monster”.
Am I allowed to leave this just as a “good-not-great” description? No? FINE! The movie, as many kid-films are, was extremely cookie-cutter. We have seen these types of movies before and there really isn’t much new here except for the fact that instead of human characters–we get monsters. But really, you do not watch this movie hoping to get an insanely original story, you watch it to see cute characters get themselves into crazy situations–and the movie delivers on that for the most part.
Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) was an adorable character throughout the whole film. Whether he was attempting to scare someone or show off his sweet sweet Batman movies, he was cute. You will find yourself “Awe-ing” a lot when he is on screen. Additionally, his has a young-love story in the film with a young she-wolf named Winnie (Sadie Sandler) which leads to some cute moments between the two– like Winnie basically tackling and licking Dennis every chance she can get or them having a quick tea-party in a tree house where Winnie discusses their future together while drinking imaginary tea. You also get to see him go to vampire training camp a place where Dracula hopes to toughen the kid up, like he was toughened up as a kid, only to find out that the camp has had to take a much “nicer” approach due to insurance reasons. Which may be a commentary on how over-protective society is on children– but I am not going to get into that. If you have to find a reason to watch this movie– go see it for the cuteness of Dennis.
But I also enjoyed the smaller scenes with Dracula and his monster buddies as they attempt to relive their glory-days of scaring and killing only for them to realize that–they are getting too old for it and they lost all of their edge that they once had. A mummy who could “cure the best of them” can’t anymore because… well… he is getting old and blew out his back or a werewolf that literally forgot how to growl– and literally says “growl” instead or Frankenstein’s monster choosing to pose for a selfie with some fans rather than scare them, make up some of the funniest scenes in the movie. They’re supposed to be teaching Dennis to be a tough monster but instead show him that monsters don’t need to act like monsters.
My final positive for the movie is probably Mavis. I find her character to be utterly adorable in the entire film and if I decide to see the first film it will probably be because I want to see more of her. She was funny, cute, adorable and was even a strong mother when she needed to be in the film and she did it all with ease. Her character made me interested to see the first movie if for no other reason than to see how she fell for a dope like Johnny.
This movie, however, was a bit draggy given its run time of only an hour and a half. I think this was due to the fact that they tended to focus on characters you really didn’t care about, like Vlad’s henchmen being insane or Johnny’s mother being an insensitive oddball… you ultimately do not care for these scenes and you tend to start thinking “When do we get back to the funny stuff?”
That, and the fact that this movie offers nothing new, but rather a cookie-cutter story told by monsters rather than humans, and you have a seriously flawed film. Since you can tell how the movie will play out, it makes the film seem like less of an adventure and more of an obligation. It was as if the writers of the movie went “Well we need to do this plot point because thats how these types of stories have always been told!”, which may have not been a bad thing if the laughs weren’t so spread apart in the movie, but they were…
Again, there was nothing new here and anyone in the audience could tell how the movie would play out. Which made the movie play-out rather boring in a lot of scenes. (2/20)
The characters were actually really fun and funny in this movie and, while the plot of the movie was rather lame, the deliver some interesting individual scenes in the film– like Vamp-Camp! That along with the fact that these monsters are supposed to be terrifying but are, instead, every day-type people make them interesting. I still laugh at the thought of a badass werewolf looking like he hates his life as he wears a tie and has 300 wereolf babies climbing all over him…that is just awesome. (18/20)
The voice acting was done very well and if you’re a kid you wont recognize the voices we have grown to know from Sandler movies. The downside for those less age-challenged, is that we do recognize the voices and it takes you out of the movie a little bit. But full points for making Dennis both really childish as well as likable enough to make him cute. I was actually surprised, based on the trailers, that he had any lines at all– but he had a lot! (15/20)
This has the same issue as plot, for me, in that it was extremely predictable which made the film a little boring… (5/30)
The trailers made the film seem just cute enough to be watchable for a Sandler film, add that to their billboard campaign and you won me over. There billboards seemed a lot like…. how do I explain this… do you remember driving to your favorite amusement park and the closer you got the more billboards you would see saying “STOP HERE FOR AMAZING FUN”? They read a lot like that– as if you’re going to the actual HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA and that you’re going to have a blast. (10/10)
and here are some of the billboards I am referring to, thank you The Daily Billboard: