Saturday, January 9, 2016

Re-Visit Drac's Pack with "Hotel Transylvania 2" on Blu-ray, DVD

From the mind of Adam Sandler and Sony Pictures Animation comes the monstrously entertaining “Hotel Transylvania 2” on 3D and standard Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms. The movie is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who brought us the original and is famous for creating “Samurai Jack” and helming the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” shorts for Cartoon Network. As usual for anything Sandler is associated with, the voice cast is made up of a roster of his pals including Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, and Steve Buscemi. Selena Gomez returns as Drac’s daughter Mavis with Mel Brooks in tow as Grandpa Vlad.

Now that Dracula (Adam Sandler) has opened the Hotel Transylvania's doors to humans, things are changing for the better; however, Drac is secretly worried that his half-human grandson, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), isn't showing his vampire side. So, while Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) are away, Drac enlists his friends to help him put the boy through a "monster-in-training" boot camp. But things really get batty when Drac's cantankerous, old-school dad (Mel Brooks) pays an unexpected visit in “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

As a big fan of classic horror films, “Hotel Transylvania 2” and its predecessor appeals to me as a tribute to the Universal Monsters I grew up with. The fact that it’s written and voiced by one of my favorite comedians and his posse of sidekick funny men just adds to my enjoyment. Every incarnation of early horror icons is lampooned here from Frankenstein’s Monster to the Wolf-Man and even the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Blob. You can tell Sandler himself is a fan of the golden age of terror through little homages like naming the vamp gramp Vlad’s batty pal Bela.

The whole movie is a touching celebration of family set against the backdrop of the weird world of the Hotel Transylvania and its diverse guest list of ghouls and humans. Drac doesn’t want Mavis and his grandson and son-in-law moving away. He also wants very badly for Dennis to be the monster the Count craves to carry on the family legacy. The point of the film is to show the importance of keeping family together and accepting the differences of its members.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” is what I would consider a road movie. Much like the “Road to” films starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, the characters take dual journeys which lead them on adventures through new and exciting places. Drac packs up his pals and grandson into the family coach on a trek to teach grandson Dennis how to be the best monster he can be. Meanwhile, Mavis and Johnny travel to California to visit his parents. He’s supposed to convince Mavis that moving to the sunny state would be a mistake. Unfortunately, Mini-marts full of delicious treats and other distractions have the opposite effect on the sheltered vampire.

The movie is rated PG for some scary images, action and rude humor. Imagine a tamer version of Adam Sandler’s films and you’ll have an accurate picture of what you can expect watching “Hotel Transylvania 2.” If you enjoy the “Paul Blart” movies or Sandler’s foray into Disneyland with “Bedtime Stories,” you’ll most likely enjoy this.

The Blu-ray + DVD edition of “Hotel Transylvania 2” is jammed full of bonus material. Blu-ray exclusives include deleted scenes and instructional help like “How to Throw the Ultimate Monster Party” and “How to Draw Your Favorite Characters.” We’re also introduced to “The New Guys” and get to sing along with Dennisovitch in Monster Scary-oke. DVD special features contain the Fifth Harmony music video “I’m in Love With a Monster,” commentaries with Director Genndy Tartakovsky, Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, and Allen Covert, and a character sketch gallery.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” is a worthy successor to the original animated hit. It’s a light-hearted comedy for everyone to enjoy. With an ensemble cast of Adam Sandler’s best buddies in tow like David Spade and Kevin James, you can bet there’s enough youthful humor to please parents as well. A strong sense of family values is at the heart of the film and gives the movie greater meaning above all its silly humor and pratfalls.

"Hotel Transylvania 2" is available now on 3D Blu-rayStandard Blu-ray, DVD, and as a digital download.

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