Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2 ★★

Image result for Hotel Transylvania 2 film stills

    Sony Pictures Animation certainly deserves to be commended, not for their multitude of viable products, but for their common sense. I mean, this is the second instance in four years where they have ultimately cashed in on the accompanying popularity and excitement, which stems from one of the nation's most beloved holidays: Halloween. "Hotel Transylvania 2" offers nothing relatively new to the genre of children's animated pictures (even if it abstains from its inclusion of lowbrow humor this time around), and it merely comes off as just another unexciting rendition of the original; and yet, audiences worldwide are chomping at the bit to see these peculiar personas take the stage once more. (In fact, a third installment has already been slated for a September 2018 release, as well as a television series which is set to premiere in early 2017.) If only this level of enthusiasm reared its head for films that actually mattered.

    "Hotel Transylvania 2" begins with the marriage ceremony of Mavis, Dracula's sole offspring, and Johnny, an endlessly goofy fellow who is quite fortunate, I think, to even be able to dress daily. Their love eventually produces young Dennis, a curly red-headed infant who will essentially be our focal point here for the rest of this discussion. For, Dennis is half human and half vampire, and there is some issue in determining as to which social grouping he belongs. Does he fit in with the tedious and rather humdrum life of the humans, or does he belong with the eventful, yet hazardous existence of the monsters? Naturally, this complication (which comes to symbolize the difficulty in deciding whether to follow change or tradition) leads to the involvement of our autocratic and overprotective protagonist, Dracula, who insists that Dennis stay in Transylvania.

    Of course, there is always an ulterior motive in such dealings, and this can surely be seen here as we simply have a father who is desperate to keep his little girl around. From this point forward, the film transitions into a neverending display of situational irony, as Dracula and his cronies strive to conjure up Dennis' monster temperament with humorous results. (Many of the film's attempts to produce laughter strike out during this sequence, as Wolfman, Frankenstein, and other beloved characters aim to show off their wickedness to no avail. For, in the words of the Wolfman, they no longer need to kill; they have Pop-Tarts now.) This all leads to a rather unimaginative climactic scene, which pretty much characterizes the picture as a whole: that is, as uninspired and trite.

    Much like the first installment in what is soon to be a trilogy of films, there is somewhat of a constructive theme present, as well as several underlying satirical jabs at our contemporary society, which has surely become dominated by technology and social media democratization. (As far as the theme is concerned, we are basically told that it is okay to be who you are, and that it is important not to pretend to be something you are not; a similar theme can be found in this year's animated debacle entitled "Home.") Yet, to counter these admirable qualities once again are numerous examples of poor execution, and, quite frankly, examples of a lack of creativity. (Contrived beings are now being used specifically to cater to the script's jests.) What really needs to be examined here, however, is the mindset of the darling Mavis, whose deep affection for the imbecile named Johnny can only be designated as sheer hogwash. If these are the types of young men that teenage girls are looking for today, then I truly feel sorry for the future of humanity.    

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