I especially love animated films for Walt Disney Studios, as well as their collaborations with Pixar. Those are truly the greatest animated movies out there. It is quite difficult to compete with them (especially this year's "Inside Out," which was absolutely extraordinary and might dust off a spot on my all-time favorite movies list).
Despite all of that, there are definitely suitable alternatives to Disney's unmatched animation, such as the "Shrek" films and "Despicable Me" films, which are immensely enjoyable for children and adults alike. Now, there's "Hotel Transylvania 2." While it is certainly not a masterpiece, it is truly enjoyable, very cute, and has a great message that is played out splendidly.
I have not seen the first film, so I cannot compare it or note which one I liked better; however, I can say that there is never a moment where the film seems like a quick cash crab. It is great for all ages, including adults, and although there is some imagery that is a little scarier than what you typically see in an animated film, my nearly three-year-old daughter didn't seem to be bothered by it, so it might depend on your child ( I did happen to notice the little girl next to me get a little scared, and I guessed she was about 6 or 7). The movie is an enjoyable time that moves at a quick pace.
When the film begins, things have changed at Hotel Transylvania. Humans are now allowed to visit and stay there, and Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) not only becomes a father-in-law, but also a grandfather to Dennis. Dracula is beyond elated for the day when Dennis's fangs grow in, but as time goes by, and he still has human teeth, he starts to become very concerned that his only grandchild might not be a monster after all. His worries continue to grow due to the possibility that his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) might leave the Hotel with her husband Johnathan (Andy Samberg) and move to where her in-laws (voiced by the always funny real-life husband and wife team Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly) reside.
One of the nice things about the film is that there is no real villain. The central conflict lies within the central characters and their worries and insecurities. There is a character that pops up towards the end to create some action; however, his sole purpose is simply to help with the problem's resolution.
Add to that perhaps the most comprehensive vocal cast I have seen in quite some time. I mean, holy smokes, Mel Brooks pops in! Fran Drescher! Molly Shannon! Megan Mullaly! Nick Offerman! Steve Buscemi! Andy Samberg! Dana Carvey! Jon Lovitz! This is truly a terrific gathering of comedians and comediennes who are always a pleasure to see (and, in this case, hear).
Then you have Adam Sandler, a truly gifted comedian back in the day whose more recent live-action films have been major disappointments. Here, he effectively uses his vocal talents and is suitably hilarious as Count Dracula. I think Sandler may have a future in animated films. Perhaps this is where he should focus his energy and talent.
As Halloween approaches, and you are looking for family-friendly fare, "Hotel Transylvania 2" is the film for you. It has something for everyone, and is just a really good time at the movies. I am planning on renting the first one, possibly even buying it. When the inevitable (and wanted) third chapter is released, I would like it to flash forward years later to Dennis and his female werewolf friend as teenagers. WARNING: SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT. That would be one vampire and werewolf love story I would be interested in seeing.