Hotel Transylvania 2 Is Dominating The Netflix Top 10, Which Is A Reminder That Hotel Transylvania Is Really Good

If your childhood consisted of late '90s and early 2000s animation, then the name Genndy Tartakovsky should sound familiar to you. He's the animator behind shows like "Samurai Jack," "The Powerpuff Girls," and "Dexter's Laboratory." Decades later, Tartakovsky is still going strong in the world of animation with the more adult-focused "Primal," which /Film's Sarah Milner called "big, bold, and bloody" in her review.

In terms of what Tartakovsky has brought to the big screen, however, the first three "Hotel Transylvania" movies are a wonderful example of what happens when you let someone with a vivid imagination helm an animated film. Better yet, these movies are the result of taking all of the Classic Universal Monsters and formatting them into a family-friendly animated vehicle that shows a softer side.

Although another Halloween has come and gone, it would appear that "Hotel Transylvania 2," in particular, has held strong in Netflix's Top 10 for the week, which makes perfect sense. These movies are dazzling visual feasts to throw on when you want to get in the spirit of the season. While "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" is arguably the best of the quadrilogy, it's "Hotel Transylvania 2" that takes what worked about the first film and gave its monsters a greater meaning.

Hotel Transylvania 2 further develops its monster roster

"Hotel Transylvania 2" takes place more than seven years after the first film, with Dracula's daughter, Mavis, now married to Johnny, the human she fell for. Together, the pair have their first child, Dennis, who they both raise at the titular hotel. At five years old, the red-haired offspring has yet to grow his vampire fangs, which makes Mavis wonder if it's even safe to raise a mostly human child at a monster hotel to begin with. While Mavis travels with Johnny to California for her own vacation, Dracula and his buddies watch over Dennis, taking the opportunity to bring out his inner monster before she gets back.

Where "Hotel Transylvania" focused on Dracula coming to terms with the idea that humans aren't all that bad, the 2015 follow-up sees the bloodsucker in a different, albeit slightly similar situation. Among all of the silly sight gags, the "Hotel Transylvania" series is ultimately about confronting prejudice. Dracula happily welcomes a human into his family (even if the fourth movie, "Hotel Transylvania: Transformania," walks that back a bit), but he's still frightened that his only grandson won't share any monster qualities. Now that humans themselves are welcome to stay at the hotel, it drives up Dracula's unfounded anxiety that Dennis won't officially be a part of his monster world. 

Above all else, "Hotel Transylvania 2" is a comedy, and it delivers on the laughs. The film's highlight is that middle stretch, where Dracula takes the kid out and about to see if they can scare those fangs out of him somehow. But as usual, it takes a moment of self-reflection for the vampire to see how he's been passing on his childhood insecurities to the next generation.

Sandler rounds out a stellar roster of vocal talent

Adam Sandler's filmography is loaded with winners ("Uncut Gems") and absolute stinkers ("The Ridiculous 6"). The comedic actor is usually at his best when he's showing off his more dramatic sensibilities with projects like "Punch-Drunk Love," but it's always admirable to see him take on more family-friendly fare. He's still doing the funny voices that can grate on people's nerves, but when it comes to Dracula, Sandler manages to make him sound sweet, affectionate, and, well, animated. The "Happy Gilmore" star is already an animated presence in and of himself, so it seems well-suited that his voice would transfer well into the world of animation.

(Well, at least for projects that aren't "Eight Crazy Nights.")

The rest of the "Hotel Transylvania" voice cast is loaded with famous names who also contribute to the lunacy of their animated monster counterparts. When you're able to score names like Mel Brooks, Steve Buscemi, Dana Carvey, Fran Drescher, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, Jon Lovitz, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Andy Samberg, Molly Shannon, and David Spade for your franchise, odds are you're going to end up with something hilarious.

Characters like Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man are played by comedians who, for better or worse, know how to get a laugh out of you based on how these monsters are often portrayed. Even Brooks is having a great time as Vlad, Dracula's old-fashioned father who hasn't been outside of his crypt in some time.

A colorful Monster Mash for the whole family

Coming back around to Tartakovsky, the "Hotel Transylvania" films are great examples of animated features that embrace the stretchy logic of a "Looney Tunes" cartoon, in tandem with the "Primal" creator's expressive style. There's almost always a hilarious sight gag going in the background of any given scene. Not every joke lands, but when Tartakovsky wants to show something like Wayne the Wolf Man devouring a field of sheep off screen in front of his horrified friends, it's always bound to get a laugh.

Background tributes to the classic monsters, along with other horror-related gags, reveal a filmmaker who takes everything people love about these characters in other mediums and puts his own fresh spin on the source material. The "Hotel Transylvania" movies are very, very silly in nature, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken seriously.

There's a concerning recent trend in the West of Hollywood executives suggesting that animation is largely for children. These movies may skew toward a younger crowd, but they're still accessible to everyone. Animation isn't just something you throw on to distract your younglings. There are whole teams behind a single frame of your favorite animated movies, and they deserve respect for how good they make it look.

"Hotel Transylvania 2" might fall into some of the same trappings a lot of animated family movies fall into, but its quick-witted humor, color, and undead heart shows what can come out of a creative team making a silly monster movie that almost everyone can get something out of.

"Hotel Transylvania 2" is currently streaming on Netflix.