Moderately like it or vehemently detest it, Adam Sandler has a new movie out this weekend in the shape of Hotel Transylvania 2, which sees the comedian venturing into the world of animation alongside all his close pals again to try and bring comedy to the masses. The first installment was met with the sort of lukewarm reviews. But it still made the stellar sum of $358.4 million, which meant that a sequel was inevitable. And like its predecessor, Hotel Transylvania 2 has decided to utilise 3D to immerse its audience.
Does 3D make an Adam Sandler film more bearable? Does it somehow make it even worse? Does Hotel Transylvania 2 actually take advantage of the format, or does it simply make you pay more for no discernable reason? In order to answer these questions, it’s time for To 3D Or Not To 3D! Our theatrical review will weigh in on whether or not Hotel Transylvania 2 is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers' poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Hotel Transylvania 2.
As a CGI-animated film that revels in being overly cartoonish and paces along at a break-neck speed, Hotel Transylvania 2 is actually very much suited to the 3D world. Count Dracula’s Hotel Transylvania is a gothic cathedral that kisses the sky, and it's packed to the rafters with tight corridors, cavernous rooms, and spooky inhabitants, each of whom come in all shapes and sizes. Plus there’s plenty of opportunities to create 3D set-ups and scenarios, especially once the monsters embark on a road-trip that takes in scary terrains. But it speaks volumes for their use of 3D that the film never really does, and most of the time you forget that it’s there. Expect for the fact you're wearing hip glasses.
Planning & Effort Score
Since Hotel Transylvania’s success was in part to its use of 3D, the plan for the sequel was always going to be to follow the same template. And from the very first frame of Hotel Transylvania 2, heck even the studio credits, you can see the depth of field and hints of different elements of 3D. However, in the end, the film only uses it to slightly heighten moments rather than having you fawn over the majesty of the technology.
Before the Window Score
Hotel Transylvania 2 doesn’t go over the top with characters and items lunging out of the window and into the audience. In fact, from my memory, there was only one occasion when I was forced to sit back further into my chair to try and avoid something coming towards me. But, since Hotel Transylvania 2 is clearly aimed primarily at children rather than trying to cater for both a young and old audience, you can see why they didn’t repeatedly look to spook them. Still, it felt like a bit of a waste.
Beyond the Window Score
This category is the direct opposite of the above, as it focuses on the depth of field of the 3D. Hotel Transylvania 2 constantly utilizes this device to showcase just how peculiar and cartoonish the world and its characters are. Especially in the titular building, where the animators were able to enhance a variety of the comedic set pieces with it. Plus, when the film shifted into action, shots were cleverly positioned to make characters look more intimidating or isolated depending on their situation. But, once again, rather than being domineering, it was only really subtly noticeable. And you couldn’t help but feel like it could have been employed even more.
Obviously, Hotel Transylvania 2 is a very dark film, as it is set at night so that its main characters can live. But, when there was color to be utilized, the film lit them up like a bonfire. Especially when it came to Dennis’ fiery red hair. But, other than that and a handful of other occasions, Hotel Transylvania 2's premise pretty much restricted any further attempts to really glisten.
Glasses Off Score
In order to see how much 3D is being used on screen you can take off your glasses to breathe in the blur. If you can see a lot of it then the film is being manipulated to create the 3D effect. Hotel Transylvania 2 wasn’t always taking advantage of its 3D, as the filmmakers were very much aware that by doing this it could have a detrimental effect on the younger audience. However, every time I tested to see if there was 3D present I still noticed that it was there. Even if it was just a smidge.
Audience Health Score
Sometimes 3D films can be so ferocious that you’re left feeling rather nauseated or even get a headache while watching them. But Hotel Transylvania 2 was always clearly conscious of not going over the top with its use of 3D, and never at any point did I feel that my eyes needed to rest or that I was on the precipice of committing the ultimate cinema faux-pas by being sick on the person in front of me.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: Hotel Transylvania 2 doesn’t come close to being 3D worthy. In fact, most of the scenes where it is deployed don’t seem to have been pre-ordained, and instead it’s just been added so that parents have to pay more money. Which they’ll do because kids love wearing 3D glasses. I mean, I’m considered an adult (only because of my age, not my actions) and I still do. In the end, simply the fact that Hotel Transylvania 2's 3D doesn’t make you puke isn’t a good enough reason to splash the extra cash on the ticket.
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