Release Date(s)2015 (January 12, 2016)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation (Sony Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C
After the success of the first film, Hotel Transylvania 2 debuted in 2015 with mostly the same cast and crew, and was a much bigger success than its predecessor. In it, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Adam Samberg) are now married and parents to a young boy named Dennis. Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) is pre-occupied with whether his grandson is truly human or will grow into a vampire, going so far as sending Mavis and Johnny away while Dracula and his friends attempt to take Dennis out into the wild to help him reveal his inner vampire, behind Mavis’ back. Meanwhile, Mavis is concerned with whether or not to raise Dennis in a monster-filled environment, with consideration for moving into the human world. And as Dennis’ fifth birthday grows closer, Dracula’s secluded father, Vlad (Mel Brooks), is due to make an appearance.
What Hotel Transylvania 2 manages to do well is build upon its predecessor without going overboard. The next logical place for the story to go is for Dracula to have a grandson, and though he’s accepted humans, there’s still a part of him that wants him to be a vampire. The film also improves upon the humor of the first, diving more into the visual gags which, by and large, are effective. Look no further than a reference to Bluetooth with an actual blue tooth walking into frame. It’s also nice to have Mel Brooks in the mix, bringing a much-needed outsider into the proceedings (aside from Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly as Dennis’ human grandparents), which inadvertently causes mayhem for all involved. It’s a fine sequel that is, in many ways, better than the original, allowing for more levity while keeping things emotionally anchored.
Hotel Transylvania 2 was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 theatrically. Repeating the same great quality of the first release, the Blu-ray 2D looks as colorful and crisp as you can imagine for 1080p. Everything is very well rendered but not overly sharp, appearing slightly soft around the edges to give characters and objects definition. Hues are all over the map, from bursting primaries and secondaries and a range of neons during the party and dance sequences. The Blu-ray 3D offers a presentation that focuses primarily on depth. Even the opening Columbia Pictures logo pops out beautifully. The many environments and kinetic character activities in both wide shots and close-ups allow the 3D to envelop. Both options offer fine presentations.
The main audio option is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it’s a very active and immersive experience. Because the film is filled with a number of monsters doing any number of things, the sound design keeps the sound system busy. Frequent activity is staged all around, panning and zooming from speaker to speaker, but also providing background ambience. The track also aids Mark Mothersbaugh’s excellent score. Other audio options include English and French Descriptive Audio; French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, French, and Spanish.
Sony’s release of Hotel Transylvania 2 features a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 2D, and DVD of the film. The following extras are included on the Blu-ray only:
- Audio Commentary with Genndy Tartakovsky
- Audio Commentary with Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel
- Monster Lullaby Scary-oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch!: Hush Little Monster (1:14)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch!: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat (1:48)
- Monster Lullaby Scary-oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch!: Vlady Had a Little Drac (1:05)
- Throw the Ultimate Monster Party! (5:45)
- Deleted Scenes: Hotel T Commercial (Alternate Opening) (1:54)
- Deleted Scenes: She's Home! (Alternate Opening) (2:42)
- Deleted Scenes: Making the Hotel Safe (1:35)
- Deleted Scenes: The Crew Lands in Jail (3:04)
- Deleted Scenes: Raising the Dead (2:39)
- Deleted Scenes: Flashback to Drac's Camp (:57)
- Deleted Scenes: Meet Dad (5:32)
- Make the Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2 (6:24)
- The New Guys of Hotel Transylvania 2 (3:32)
- How to Draw Your Favorite Characters (5:04)
- I'm in Love with a Monster Music Video (3:42)
- Meet the New Guests of Hotel Transylvania 2 (7:17)
- Character Sketch Gallery (91 in all)
- Open Season: Scared Silly Preview (1:32)
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Preview (2:30)
- Goosebumps Preview (2:38)
- The Angry Birds Movie Preview (2:33)
In the first audio commentary, director Genndy Tartakovsky flies solo, discussing many facets of the production, with a few too many instances of silence. The second commentary features Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel, which is more or less the two of them watching it together and making jokes along the way, which is pretty useless. The Sing Along and Monster Party segments are child-oriented, the latter demonstrating how to make Frankenstein Punch, Mini Kakie Cakes, and a Bat Garland for a party. Next is a series of Deleted Scenes that were digitally storyboarded and, in some cases, partially animated. Make the Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2 features foley artist Robin Harlan demonstrating how basic sound effects in the film were developed. The New Guys discusses the designs of the new characters. How to Draw Your Favorite Characters features actor Asher Blinkoff and animator Michael Kurinsky, the latter of whom shows Asher how to draw various characters from the film. Meet the New Guests of Hotel Transylvania 2 talks about the new characters in the film. The Character Sketch Gallery features 91 stills that can be viewed individually or in a slideshow. The Blu-ray 3D features the two commentaries only, while the DVD features the commentaries, the music video, the character sketches, and the previews.
Hotel Transylvania 2 is a very worthy sequel that explores the characters a bit more without overburdening them with useless sequel additions or ruining what’s come before. If you enjoyed the first film, you’re bound to enjoy the second.
- Tim Salmons