Animation Blu-ray Review

'Hotel Transylvania 2' Blu-ray Review: Fang-tastic family fun

January 13, 2016Ben MK

Say what you will about Adam Sandler's acting abilities, but casting him as Dracula in Hotel Transylvania was kind of brilliant. After all, as Opera Man on Saturday Night Live, the comedian has already proven he can rock a cape. Plus, having frequent Sandler collaborators like David Spade and Kevin James play versions of classic Hollywood movie monsters was somehow strangely perfect.

Clearly, audiences agreed, and now, three years after the success of the first film, Hotel Transylvania 2 is continuing the comic misadventures of the residents of the titular monsters-only hotel. This time, Drac's daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human "zing" Jonathan (Andy Samberg) have produced a half-human/half-vampire offspring named Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), who may or may not be a "late fanger." Either way, the prospect of her child being human has Mavis contemplating moving her family to California, leaving Drac with limited time to prove his "Denisovich" is a vampire who belongs at Hotel Transylvania.

Cue the spooky, family-friendly hijinks, which has Drac and his pals Frankenstein (James), Griffin the Invisible Man (Spade), Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi), Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key) and Blobby (Jonny Solomon) hitting the road to show Dennis a thing or two about how to be a scary monster. Of course, things go hilariously wrong, and it's not long before they find themselves trying to explain the whole bizarre situation to Dennis' vampa Vlad (Mel Brooks), a human-hating, old-school vampire who also happens to have a deep, dark cave full of vicious, man-bat henchmen.

But don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (best known for his work on Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: Clone Wars), Hotel Transylvania 2 is full of monstrous puns and silly sight gags, and follows nicely from the first movie, bringing back many old characters, as well as introducing a few new ones, with plenty of notable voices along for the ride (including Nick Offerman, Megan Mullaly, Molly Shannon, Rob Riggle, Chris Kattan and Jon Lovitz). Even if you think Adam Sandler is overrated, it's hard not to find something to gravitate to in this scare-riffic sequel.

As you might expect, Hotel Transylvania 2's CG animation looks essentially flawless on Blu-ray, with the razor-sharp 1080p transfer dishing out vibrant colors and pitch-perfect contrast and black levels, all the better to observe such minutiae as the individual hairs and scales on some of the characters. Likewise, the film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a genuine winner as well, making dialogue sound crystal clear and filling the room with the sounds of boisterous pop music, not to mention the groans of the undead, the flapping of leathery wings, and all manner of squishy squashy sounds.

Sony brings Hotel Transylvania 2 to Blu-ray as both a two-disc 2D combo pack and a three-disc 3D release, both of which include an UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Feature Commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovsky - A fairly informative track, in which Tartakovsky talks about the opening sequence, the story elements, the animation style, the vocal performances, the color palette, the humor, the production, art and sound design, and more.
  • Feature Commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Allen Covert - A less informative, more relaxed track, in which the star, the writer and the executive producer banter about the movie, crack jokes and occasionally touch on things like the performances, the humor and the story.
  • Monstery Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch! (3:57) - Sing-along versions of three lullabies from the movie ("Hush Little Monster," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat" and "Vlady had a Little Drac").
  • Throw the Ultimate Monster Party! (5:45) - Mavis shows younger viewers how to throw the perfect Hotel Transylvania 2 themed party, complete with Frankenstein punch, mini Kakie cakes and a bat garland.
  • Deleted Scenes (17:53) - Seven scenes presented in storyboard/unfinished form ("Hotel T Commercial [Alternate Opening]," "She's Home! [Alternate Opening]," "Making the Hotel Safe," "The Crew Lands in Jail," "Raising the Dead," "Flashback to Drac's Camp" and "Meet Dad").
  • Make the Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2 (6:24) - Foley Artist Robin Harlan shows viewers how to some of the movie's sound effects were created.
  • The New Guys (3:32) - Executive Producer Allen Covert and Director Genndy Tartakovsky talk about the character designs for Dennis, Dennis' favorite TV monster Kakie, grandpa Vlad and Vlad's henchman Bela.
  • How to Draw Your Favorite Characters (5:04) - The voice of Dennis, Asher Blinkoff, learns how to draw Dennis and Drac from Production Designer Michael Kurinsky.
  • "I'm in Love with a Monster" Music Video by Fifth Harmony (3:42) - A music video for the song featured in the film's opening sequence.
  • Meet the New Characters - Animation Progressions (7:17) - Director Genndy Tartakovsky, Production Designer Michael Kurinsky and Visual Effects Supervisor Karl Herbst talk about the design and voices behind Dennis, Johnny's parents, Vlad and Bela.
  • Character Sketch Gallery - 91 pieces of production art from the movie.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of January 12th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 29 Mins.

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