Hotel Transylvania 2 (PG)
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This is the sequel to Hotel Transylvania. It came out in September 2015, but I didn't see it until July 2018. I watched it on the night that the third movie in the franchise opened in theaters, which was Friday the 13th. It begins with the wedding of Mavis and Jonathan. (Wikipedia says this takes place seven years after the first movie, but I didn't see or hear anything in the movie that suggested how long it had been. In fact if I had to guess, I'd say someone heard the movie was set seven years later because of a few flash forwards that happen after the first scene, but somehow thought the number applied to that scene.) Johnny's relatives come to the hotel for the wedding, most notably his mother, Linda (Megan Mullally), and father, Mike (Nick Offerman). After the wedding, the movie flashes forward one year, and we learn that Mavis is pregnant. There's another flash forward to Mavis and Johnny's son, Dennis, being born (which, coincidentally, happened on Friday the 13th). And then... most of the movie is set around the time Dennis turns five. Oh, also I should mention that Dracula's hotel now is now open to human guests, not just monsters.
Dracula is constantly waiting for Dennis (whom he calls "Denisovich") to grow fangs, because he doesn't want to believe his grandson could be human, rather than a vampire. He also tries to teach Dennis to turn into a bat, and be scary, or whatever. Finally, Mavis starts thinking it might be better to raise Dennis in Johnny's hometown, Santa Cruz. So she and Johnny go visit the city, where all the normal things about the human world seem exciting to Mavis. However, Johnny doesn't want to move away from Transylvania, so he agreed with Dracula's plan to try to make Mavis dislike the place. Meanwhile, Dracula and his friends are left looking after Dennis while his parents are away. This includes Frankenstein's monster, aka Frank (Kevin James), a werewolf named Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), a mummy named Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), and a gelatinous blob named Blobby. (I don't think Blobby was in the first movie, but I'm not sure. Frank, Wayne, Griffin, and Murray all were, though in that movie Murray was voiced by CeeLo Green.) Drac wants his friends to help him teach Dennis how to be a monster, but they're all quite rusty, not having acted like monsters for years. He has to keep this whole plan a secret from Mavis, but... for reasons I won't go into, she eventually figures it out, and she flies home with Johnny to confront her father. And his actions have made her more convinced than ever that she should move away from Transylvania with her husband and son.
Anyway... Mavis's plan is to move immediately after Dennis's upcoming fifth birthday party. There are lots of monsters as well as humans in attendance. And I should mention that Dennis's best friend is a girl werewolf named Winnie. (She's one of Wayne's many, many pups.) Also, Mavis invites Dracula's father, Vlad (Mel Brooks), to Dennis's party. (It was pretty clear since much earlier in the movie that he'd be involved eventually, since Dracula had made a point of saying what a bad idea it would be for him to find out there were now humans in the family.) And... Vlad brings along a servant named Bela (Rob Riggle), who is a sort of human-sized bat-creature (and apparently the leader of a whole colony of bat-creatures). Dracula tries to keep Vlad from finding out Johnny and Dennis aren't vampires, as well as dressing up Johnny's family and any other human guests as zombies (and maybe as other monsters, I dunno). Vlad eventually learns the truth, which... as predicted, doesn't go well. But when Bela and the other bat-creatures attack Dennis and Winnie, um... well, a couple of things happen that I don't want to reveal. But I will say there's a pretty great fight.
Well, of course there's a happy ending. And Mavis decides to continue living in Transylvania, after all. Other than that, all I can say is that I liked this movie more than the original. I thought it had a better story, and was generally more amusing, and it all just sort of gelled pretty well, now that the characters and the world they inhabit had become familiar. So, I look forward to seeing the third movie, someday.
Followed by Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation