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The kids dragged me to the latest cartoon cinematic feature, Hotel Transylvania 2, last Friday. (Don’t worry about me; I pulled the old sneak in the water bottle full of wine trick again.) Luckily, I knew the level of quality I was getting into ahead of time as we had previewed Hotel Transylvania 1 at home a few days before going — how else are you going to follow the nuanced plotline of the sequel if you don’t watch the films in order?
Anyway, every once in a while between sips of Chianti, I’d pull out the earbuds reporting my podcast (Ricochet, of course) to get some idea of what was going on in the movie as my kids love to recap the show on the ride home. Aside from the obvious annoying stereotypes — when, oh, when will Hollywood finally leave the hardworking people of Transylvania alone? — I had deeper issues with is the overall plot of this children’s tale.
I’ll grudgingly give a spoiler alert now (if you honestly are in need of a spoiler alert in a film where Steve Buscemi plays a werewolf T-ball coach, we’ll get a drink since you need to get out even more than I do). But the basic gist of Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2 is that monsters and humans are all okay and have just been misunderstanding each other all these centuries.
The slacker and main human character – another issue of mine is it is near impossible to find a positive male role model in movies who is between 15 and 60 and does not wear pajamas and shoot lasers out of his eyes – falls in love with, marries, and has a kid with a young vampire lady. The vampire father-in-law has issues with his monster daughter having her family with a human, of course, and much predictable lame humor ensues, including a monster road trip to try and convert the grandson into a vampire.
Not that I’m too concerned that my kids will retain what they saw at Hotel Transylvania 2 beyond the next Skylanders level, but my issue with the message of these kids movies is they are indicating that all parties enter into situations in good faith and it is just our misunderstandings that cause conflict. Sorry, but no. Sometimes a zombie just wants to eat your brain because he wants your brain and it’s not because you misunderstand each other.
It seems the only place a true villain can be found anymore for kids is superhero movies where the only one capable of taking on the evildoer is some mutant or bionic man or moderate swing-state voter. Well, I’m sorry, but these things just don’t exist. Kids need to learn that there is true evil that cannot be reasoned with in this world and sometimes it takes seemingly ordinary people to stop it.
In my free time, I’m submitting a screenplay for Hotel Transylvania 3: One More Attempt to Milk this Sucker where the slacker son-in-law changes his ways, gets a job, and is forced to put a selfie stick through the heart of his vampire father-in-law in order to save the local townspeople. Wish me luck.