We were introduced to Hotel Transylvania 3 years ago as a resort for classic movie monsters run by Dracula whose friends include Frank aka Frankenstein’s Monster, Murray the Mummy, Griffin The Invisible Man, Wayne Wolf-man and Blobby the blob. The hotel was a safe haven where monsters could relax away from their human foes. Johnny the human, stumbles upon the hotel which results in Dracula realizing perhaps humans are not so bad after all. Dracula’s daughter Mavis falls madly in love with Johnny and the worlds of monsters and humans come together.
Hotel Transylvania 2 begins with wedding of vampire Mavis and human Johnny. Warmed my heart when Dracula saw Mavis about to walk down the aisle, and he flashed seeing her as his little girl. No dialogue needed to know Dracula still loves his girl and just wants her to be happy so he has accepted the fact humans will be in his family and hotel. Dracula is thrilled later to become a grandfather however becomes stressed when there are no signs half vampire half human Grandson Dennis has a monster side. As Dracula stresses about the lack of fangs in Dennis, mom Mavis’s mothering instincts kick in full force and she wonders if the hotel is the best place to raise her son. Johnny is loving working with Dracula at updating the hotel to the modern social media age and doesn’t want to leave.
What follows are adventures outside of the hotel as Mavis and Johnny go to California to see if that is better for Dennis which Johnny’s family while Dracula and the gang take Dennis on a road trip to try facilitate getting out his monster side. Worlds collide in the eye opening adventures of both. Dracula realizes further that things have changed immensely in the world today when visiting old haunts from his youth. As both meet up after their adventures back at the hotel, a surprise visit from Grandpa Vlad, none other than the voice of Mel Brooks, has the family stressed because he has not come to a place to accept humans.
I asked my husband and daughter to tell me favorite scenes in the movie. My husband loved the adventuring and camaraderie of the monsters as they got a look at today’s world outside the castle. My daughter loved the monsters dancing and when asked is there was anything the movie was trying to tell her, without hesitation she said “be yourself and accept others for who they are”. Not bad for an 8 year old, I got that message too. She also said, Dennis is SOOOO cute and he is!
The movie does possess a message of acceptance and diversity as proclaimed through humor and zany adventures the monsters. They support each other too in all their differences and its apparent they are close friends no matter what. The theme of the movie is by no means new, I thought about the classic film Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner as Mavis and Johnny were welcomed in California. Without being preachy it touched on stereotypes and diversity, all with humor. As Dracula and the gang greeted Vlad there were shades of The Bird Cage, trying to hide the humans from Vlad who had little tolerance for them. All told through the monsters versus humans perspective in a very entertaining way that kids will understand. If you think about it, this is not a new theme as mixed marriages and acceptance goes back to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Kudos to Hotel Transylvania 2 for giving us a twist on this in a fun and modern way even little kids can understand.
Dennis is a child in a mixed marriage, two very different cultures. Dracula is someone struggling to accept a family member who might not be exactly what he thought or hoped to have in a grandson. Mavis wants to be a different parent than how she was raised in the hotel. This film contains are the positive messages for all family members with ways parents and kids can relate to these characters on many levels. To me, this makes it stand out to me from your average animated “kids” movie.
Written by Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel of Saturday Night Live fame, the film delivers laughs for the whole family throughout the film as it subtly yet effectively delivers the messages. Our family all laughed out loud throughout the movie as did the most in the theater. The cast of many familiar voices includes Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Mel Brooks and more! They truly make the monsters and humans lovable – oh that little Dennis was just so cute.