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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Cinema Review – Hotel Transylvania 2

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Count Dracula as a doting grandfather is bridge too far for me, but this animated feature is strictly for kids, so an old fogey’s response is neither here nor there.

Directed by the appropriately named Genndy Tartakovsky (you can just see him prowling through a forest of shadowy fir trees, can’t you?) has made a movie that is gorgeous to the eye but banal and clichéd in its storytelling – probably owing to the fact that Adam Sandler, a master of dumbing down, as well as voicing Drac, is co-writer.

The movie also makes a rod for its own back through its helter-skelter pacing. Tartakovsky clearly believes that the little brains who will make up his audience are capable of only the shortest attention spans, so he whips through scenes at such a frantic rate that, counter-productively, after an hour or so you feel like you’ve been watching something as long as Lawrence Of Arabia.

The crux of the matter, as it is so often in instructional cartoons, deals with the idea of acceptance of those who are different (and let’s face it, it’s a lesson that cannot be over-emphasised these days).

Drac’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), has married Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a non-vampire. They have a baby, Dennis, and Drac is devastated at the possibility that the kid will not inherit the bloodsucker gene. Drac takes his grandson to the summer school where he learnt his craft, but finds that health and safety regulations have completely watered down the experience.

There are a few pertinent observations concerning the coddling, risk-free upbringing of today’s children, but overall the movie is awfully lame. Apart from anything else, Dracula never sinks his fangs into the pale neck of a maiden with heaving bosoms. How bad is that?

Steve Buscemi provides some half-laughs speaking the lines of Frankenstein (I know, Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster), but the story’s high-minded goal is undone by its contradictory finale. Worth it only if you want to get out of the heat and into the aircon.

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