From the man behind the excellent animated TV show, Samurai Jack, the sequel to the popular, kids-centric Hotel Transylvania maintains the same solid – albeit unexceptional – results.Director Genndy Tartakovsky (who also did better in his 3 minute Clone Wars episodes than Lucas did in his entire prequel trilogy) brings his distinctive style back to the fore, with a burgeoning cast of familiar voices – headlined by the returning Adam Sandler, and his entourage of acting friends – ready to bring this popular monster hotel back to life. The sequel picks up where the first one left off, with Dracula finding himself a frustrated grandparent, whose half-human grandson refuses – despite his best efforts – to showcase any monstrous traits. When a distinctly PC monster camp still doesn’t bring his fangs out, Dracula has to take more drastic measures.Although far from as adult-friendly as its Pixar-flavoured cousins, the Hotel Transylvania films still divert children with much the same effect, and do have plenty of little in-jokes, obviously monster-driven, covering everything from Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula to The Exorcist, with likely only dedicated decades-long monster movie fans capable of picking up all the subtle references. The humour is warm and family-friendly, and the story, whilst nothing particularly special, hits all the right notes required of this kind of thing. Sandler & co. provide decent vocal coverage and, whilst it’s never going it win any awards, the sequel is sure to please fans of the first film.
Picture QualityHotel Transylvania 2 looks spectacular in 2D, with a near-perfect 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is rich and vibrant in colours and striking in clarity, enshrouded with shadows and inky blacks, but never even slightly faltering in the face of it all. Detail is excellent, picking up every tiny nuance and every subtle texture, which is particularly noticeable when there’s a background campfire, or a bustling party event. The colour scheme is gorgeous, popping with bright, vivid tones that look outstanding set against the rich black backdrop and, with no digital defects whatsoever, this is easily demo and reference perfection right here.
Perfect 2D impresses; unnecessary 3D adds little.
The 3D counterpart lets the side down somewhat, providing an alternative, and arguably inferior manner of viewing the material which showcases very little significant depth and layering, and no significant positive or negative parallax to demo the powers of the format. There are (literally) a couple of pop-out moments, but the majority of the feature appears reliant upon depth, of which there simply isn't enough, with the 2D cartoony quality of the elements not particularly rendered well in 3D. Nothing standout here, which is a shame because it brings the overall score of what is otherwise reference 2D down a notch.
Sound QualityThe accompanying soundtrack is punchy and engaging at all times.
Arriving with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, the sequel delivers plenty of noisy, exciting setpieces, full of nice effects flourishes, set against a solid score and strong front-dominated presentation of the dialogue. Effects are extremely well promoted across the surrounds with some nice LFE undercurrent adding a little extra weight, giving transformations and uses of powers that nice buzz, whilst the more exciting setpieces rollick along and draw you into the affair. Demo and likely also reference standard, there are no complaints on the aural front.
ExtrasPacked with additional features, there's plenty of background material on offer.
Headlined by not one, but two audio commentaries - from both the Director, who focuses more on the technical side of things, and also voice star Adam Sandler (and a couple of other voice talents / crew members) who provides an altogether more laid back affair, there's plenty of extra stuff here for both kids and adults alike, with a number of half-finished additional scenes, a Karaoke Featurette, a Throw your own Monster Party Featurette, and a Draw Your Favourite Character Featurette - all of which offer plenty of child-friendly interaction - as well as a couple of short Featurettes on the new characters and their design. The package is rounded off by a Gallery, Music Video and some Trailers.
Blu-ray VerdictIt may not suit adults quite as much, but the kids will love it.
With excellent, reference, 2D and largely unnecessary, unexceptional 3D, it's an easy choice to make when deciding which version to pick up. Fans of the first film certainly won't be disappointed and, with a third feature greenlit, there clearly must have been a fair few!
You can buy Hotel Transylvania 2 on 3D Blu-ray here
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