Hotel Transylvania 2 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 3-Mar-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Audio Commentary-with Director Genndy Tartakovsky
Audio Commentary-with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Allen Covert
Additional Footage-Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch!
Featurette-Throw the Ultimate Monster Party!
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Make the Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2
Featurette-The New Guys
Featurette-How to Draw Your Favorite Characters
Music Video-ďIím In Love With a MonsterĒ by Fifth Harmony
Featurette-Meet the New Characters - Animation Progressions
Gallery-Character Sketch Gallery
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 99:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Genndy Tartakovsky
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Universal Sony
Starring Adam Sandler
Andy Samberg
Selena Gomez
Kevin James
Steve Buscemi
David Spade
Keegan-Michael Key
Asher Blinkoff
Fran Drescher
Molly Shannon
Mel Brooks
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Mark Mothersbaugh


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1
Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1
Flemish Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Dutch
French
Hindi
Italian
Polish
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Sony phones used throughout
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††††Despite Adam Sandlerís shonky track record, Hotel Transylvania developed into an unexpected hit all the way back in 2012, and was a highly enjoyable animated endeavour to boot. A child-friendly adventure with enough entertainment to offer the adult demographic, the movie took many classic Universal horror characters - including Count Dracula, Frankensteinís Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, etc. - and turned them into homogenised protagonists, generating a rich comedic world ripe to further exploit in any sequels. Luckily, 2015ís Hotel Transylvania 2 retains many of the qualities which made its predecessor such a treat, and itís once again overseen by animation veteran Genndy Tartakovsky. Even though storytelling is scattershot, itís an entertaining follow-up that will almost certainly please children, especially if the first Hotel Transylvania was to their liking.

††† Soon after the events of the original film, human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and vampire Mavis (Selena Gomez) get married, and the new bride finds herself pregnant, much to the excitement of her father, Dracula (Adam Sandler). However, the boy, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), seems to favour his human side, much to the dismay of Dracula, who wants his grandson to follow in his footsteps and become a true bloodsucker. In addition, Dracula is further disheartened by the prospect of Jonathan and Mavis moving to California to raise Dennis as a regular human tyke. Approaching Dennisí fifth birthday, Dracula persuades Jonathan to take Mavis on a trip to visit his parents (Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman), under the guise of giving the couple a break from the rigours of parenthood. Meanwhile, Dracula secretly enlists the help of his monster pals - Frankensteinís Monster (Kevin James), werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi), invisible man Griffin (David Spade), mummy Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), and Blobby (Jonny Solomon) - to hopefully awaken Dennisí vampire gene and show the boy the ways of monster life.

††† Written by Sandler and Robert Smigel, Hotel Transylvania 2 is quick to introduce Dennis in the first act before rushing through the tykeís first few years to reach his fifth birthday. Since the first flick was so small-scale and confined, this sequel is keen to leave the titular resort, briskly setting up the plot to allow for monkey (monster?) business outside the hotelís walls. However, the script doesnít quite know when to quit in terms of plot, leading to the third-act development involving the introduction of Draculaís father, Vlad (the legendary Mel Brooks), that probably should have been saved for another sequel. Still, Hotel Transylvania 2 remains joyous through to the finish line, and though itís not as poignant or as thoughtful as a typical Pixar feature, it does have a few things on its mind about the dangers of narrow-minded prejudice, and the importance of tolerance and acceptance. This is still a fluffy comedy by and large, but such subtext does provide a worthwhile lesson for the children in the audience.

††† Sumptuously animated by the folks at Sony, Hotel Transylvania 2 has an ace up its sleeve in director Tartakovsky, who also worked on television shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Tartakovsky has a nice eye and ear for comedy, gifting the production with plenty of amusing slapstick and sharp one-liners, preserving a light-hearted, goofy spirit which keeps the proceedings entertaining even when the storytelling is at its rockiest. With two parallel storylines (one concerning Mavis and Jonathan in California, another about Dracula and Dennis), the film stays fresh, allowing for a wider scope and more opportunities for amusing situations and hilarious jokes. Plus, the actors all commit to the material wonderfully, with Sandler again showing that heís probably better-suited for animation than live-action at this point in his career. Further colour is provided by Brooks, who relishes the chance to voice a goofy vampire, while the likes of Samberg, James, Buscemi and Spade all hit their marks. Also notable are real-life married couple Offerman and Mullally as Jonathanís parents - their trademark personalities are a perfect fit for their respective characters.

††† Disappointingly, Hotel Transylvania 2 is loaded with product placement; the characters all use smartphones with a very prominent Sony logo, for instance, and thereís even some erroneous pop music which comes across as forced. Nevertheless, this is a fun, goofy, simplistic cartoon which goes down easily enough, and it compensates for its narrative shortcomings and other flaws by providing a steady stream of side-splitting gags. And considering the dirge that Sandler has headlined lately, the fact that itís actually funny is a huge deal.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††††As to be expected from an animated title, Hotel Transylvania 2 looks flawless on Blu-ray, with a pristine presentation clearly taken from the movieís digital master. This AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition presentation is framed at the movieís original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it looks simply spectacular from top to bottom, featuring stunning clarity and sumptuous colours.

††† Hotel Transylvania 2 does not feature the most detailed animation, with only basic textures on clothes and skin, and the transfer does an exceptional job of bringing out every possible detail. In addition, environments look rich and lush, while every hair is discernible on heads or faces in close-ups. Itís a crystal-clear image, on top of being razor-sharp and exceptionally defined, without any trace of aliasing, banding or any other digital artefacts. In addition, colour is stable, doing justice to the deliberate lighting choices discussed in the directorís audio commentary. Blacks look deep and inky, which gives the 2D image plenty of discernible depth.

††† This is a superlative transfer which never disappoints in any department, and itís hard to imagine an Ultra HD Blu-ray transfer offering any sort of substantial improvement. Subtitles are available in a few languages, and I found the English track to be free of issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††††The main track on this Blu-ray is an excellent English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix, while the disc also provides an array of both lossy and lossless options for other languages. This isnít the type of disc that one would often perceive as being demo-worthy, but the lossless English track is terrific nevertheless, doing justice to the rich sound mix. Dialogue is consistently clear and given great prioritisation, while the playful song choices and original music sound wonderful.

††† Thereís a nuanced soundscape here, from the subtle night-time atmospherics to panning as bats fly across the screen, and it all sounds marvellous. During the bigger set-pieces, there is rumbling and subwoofer activity for best effect. Itís a great track from the folks at Universal Sony.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††††A few commentary tracks and some fluffy video extras. Nothing substantial.

Feature Commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovsky

††† The video extras on this disc are mostly geared towards the children, but this commentary is for the more film-savvy viewers interested in hearing about in-depth information pertaining to the making of the movie. Tartakovsky provides scene-specific anecdotes, breaking down as many scenes as possible to talk about different versions, testing, deleted jokes, and so on. Itís not the most involving track Iíve heard, but there is some nice stuff here.

Feature Commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Allen Covert

††† Despite the presence of Sandler, this is a fairly sedate track with scattered anecdotes about the movie. Not overly insightful.

Monster Lullaby Scary-Oke Sing Along with Dennisovitch! (HD; 3:57)

††† A few karaoke versions of monster-related songs. You can watch the songs individually, or via a ďPlay AllĒ function. For the kids, nothing more. Hereís what we have:

Throw the Ultimate Monster Party! (HD; 5:45)

††† Another little supplement specifically for the children. This is an instructional video for how to throw a Hotel Transylvania-inspired party, with bat decorations, Frankenstein Punch, and Mini Kakie Cakes.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 17:53)

††† Here we have a fair amount of excised material which didnít make the final edit, including two alternate openings. The majority of this stuff is presented in storyboard form to give you a rough idea of what the scene would have been like. Itís probably best that these were left out, though they arenít terrible. These can be watched individually, or via a ďPlay AllĒ function.

Make the Scary and Silly Sounds of HT2 (HD; 6:24)

††† Another kid-friendly supplement, this featurette involves foley artist Robin Harlan showing us how many of the sound effects were achieved. Kids will undoubtedly get the most out of this, especially since Harlan encourages us to try making similar sounds.

The New Guys (HD; 3:32)

††† A fluffy, promotional featurette in which the crew discuss the design of the new characters. Mel Brooks also chimes in briefly. Again, kids will probably get the most out of this.

How to Draw Your Favorite Characters (HD; 5:04)

††† As the title suggests, this is an instructional video which shows you how to draw some of the characters from the movie. Again, this is for the kids.

ďIím In Love With a MonsterĒ Music Video by Fifth Harmony (HD; 3:42)

††† Self-explanatory.

Meet the New Characters - Animation Progressions (HD; 7:17)

††† An extension of the ďNew GuysĒ featurette, this is a closer look at the design and animation of the new characters. This is fairly insightful, but clearly made for YouTube; it even ends with a ďSubscribeĒ page. You couldnít have cut that out, guys?

Character Sketch Gallery (HD)

††† A gallery of character sketches, which can be viewed as a slideshow. Beware, however, that I found this gallery impossible to navigate out of. I had to restart the disc from the beginning to get out of it. Big flaw on Sonyís part.

Previews (HD)

††† Trailers for The Angry Birds Movie and Open Season: Scared Silly.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† ††Our disc appears to be a direct port of the Region A release. Buy local.

Summary

††††I enjoyed the original Hotel Transylvania, and found myself having a great time with this sequel. The actors all have a great time, and I laughed frequently. That's just good enough.

††† This disc is perfectly respectable, featuring a flawless video/audio presentation and a strong selection of special features, fluffy though some of them may be. All things considered, this disc comes recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, March 11, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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