Hotel Transylvania 2
Run Time: 89 Minutes
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
This film does little to engage with any major cultural identity themes. However, the film does address important notions regarding representation, stereotyping, and the Other.
Summary: Dracula attempts to bring out the “monster” in his half-human, half-monster grandson.
- Name calling, threatening language- “idiot,” “imbecile,” “stupid,” “werewussy,” “freakazoid,” “shut-up”
- Visible weapons- toy guillotine
- Slapping, punching
- Slapstick violence
- Explosions, fire
- Doing yoga with a torture device
- A zombie accidently drills through his hand with a power drill.
- Dracula eats a rat.
- Dracula and Mavis sing a lullaby about violence to lull Dennis to sleep.
- A monster kisses a human without the human’s permission. While this action is depicted as comedic in the film, touching a person without their consent is inappropriate.
- The Abominable Snowman is briefly shown in his underwear.
- At one point in the film, Blobby (a monster made of a jelly-like substance) urinates.
- Alcohol in bottles, wine glasses, and champagne flutes
- Dracula challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, he sings, shows emotion, wears satin pink pajamas, and is the primary caretaker for his daughter, Mavis. Additionally, although Dracula is coded as masculine, given his pronouns (him/he/his) and his voice (Adam Sandler), he performs masculinity and femininity throughout the film. For example, in one scene Dracula pretends to be a woman by doing drag and performing femininity in order to see his newborn grandson.
- Also, Jonathan challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity as he regularly expresses his emotions, especially his love for Mavis and their son Dennis.
- Mavis challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity. For example, she is active (very skilled at riding a bike) and independent (Mavis is a non-traditional bride with her black wedding dress).
- Also, Winnie challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity as she is depicted as intelligent and brave. For example, Winnie saves Dennis from one of Vlad’s minions by biting the monster.
- There are a few minor characters of color. For example, Murray the Mummy, who is voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and depicted as of color, is fun and jolly throughout the film.
- A mariachi band is briefly present in the film.
Sexual Orientation: N/A
- Various body types are present throughout the film. Most of the monsters, many of whom have grotesque bodies, are depicted as kind, loving, and fun. This is significant because grotesque bodies are often depicted as immoral in the media.
- Vlad, who is old-bodied, is depicted as powerful (strong magical abilities) and ultimately “good” by the end of the film. This is significant because old bodies are regularly depicted as powerless and inactive in the media. Although he is unlikable at first (given his bigoted opinions of humans), Vlad changes for the better by the end of the film. Rather than remain static and as an “old person stuck in their ways,” Vlad learns to challenge his dated conceptions of humans and transforms for the better by the end of the film.
- The male gaze is present multiple times throughout the film. For example, when Dracula performs drag, the camera does a close-up of his curvaceous figure.
- Aside from Mavis, the few major or minor female characters included in the film are unlikable or play insignificant roles. For example, at one point in the film, one of the masculine monsters says to another “how hot is my date?” In this case, the “date,” who is coded as feminine, seems to be valued strictly for her appearance.
- In the film there is a brief interaction with a shrunken head that is voiced by Luenell and coded as of color. Given that the head has no body, it is unable to move from its location (contained to a “space”). Further, the head is almost exclusively used for comedic relief and does not contribute to plot development (see review for Hotel Transylvania for more information regarding this depiction in the first film).
- The majority of the characters appear to be heterosexual.
- Although she lives in a world full of monsters with grotesque bodies, Mavis (except when she is pregnant for a brief portion of the film) conforms to feminine body ideals (thin, tall, smooth skin, etc.). This is significant because feminine leads tend to conform to hegemonic body ideals rather than challenge them.
- Frank, who is fat-bodied, is regularly shown as gluttonous (consuming large amounts of food quickly). While Frank is depicted as a “good” character, the film uses his food consumption for comedic relief and perpetuates the notion that all large bodied individuals are over-eaters.
Suggested talking points
- Familial love is a major theme throughout the entire film. It is important to remember that family units can take different forms and that the traditional family unit (one father and one mother) is just one of the many ways that a family unit can exist. For example, Dracula, who was a single father, raised Mavis by himself in a very loving household.
- A fear of the Other is also a major theme in the film. The film explains how the Other is constructed (stereotypes) and how the fear of the Other can have detrimental consequences. For example, when Vlad discovers that his grandson, Dennis, is half-human and half-monster, he is very upset, and his sidekick even attacks Dennis. However, once Vlad gets to know the humans, he realizes they are kind and harmless. This interaction, and many others similar to it, suggests that if humans and monsters took the time to listen and understand one another, then perhaps it would reduce the fear between the two groups.
- The myth of heterosexual love and heteronormativity is present in the film in many instances. For example, Mavis and Johnathan appear to have a magical, fairytale wedding, and although Dennis and Winnie are just kids, the film frames them as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Keywords: movie, review, 1 paw, animated, family, body, gender, other, the other, hotel Transylvania 2,