Desperate to keep his beloved old theatre in business a daydreaming Koala Bear called Buster Moon organises a singing competition. Attracting an eclectic mix of animal entertainers each with their own distinct plans for fame and fortune, the competition lurches from one disaster to the next, throwing into question whether Buster and his shining new stars will make all their dreams come true when their big night finally comes…
Matthew McConaughey is one of the most likeable and charismatic stars of the Big Screen. Even in animated Koala Bear form his distinctive vocal charms are a perfect fit for Buster Moon’s relentless optimism and infectious enthusiasm. Even as Buster’s smooth talking get him and all those around him into trouble it’s simply impossible not to long for his delightful delusions to succeed. It’s undoubtedly important for the film to have someone as undeniably sympathetic in its lead role to keep the entire course of the film best intentioned.
Sing’s biggest asset by far is an impressive vocal cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba and rising star Taron Egerton. They inject a huge amount of actual personality into the films characters which include a shy elephant diva, a rebellious porcupine rocker, a criminal Gorilla family, a downtrodden pig housewife and her flamboyant dancing sidekick.
Ironically particular for younger audiences it is some of Sing’s supporting cast that ultimately steal the show and grab the most laughs. Nick Kroll’s deliciously silly German pig Gunter is a spandex clad bundle of fun and portly body popping. J-pop Gerbils, singing snails and Buster’s bumbling lizard assistant are among the silly slapstick joys likely to bring a smile to young faces.
The film also strives to pack a few simple moral messages in alongside the Lady Gaga cover versions. Each contestant and Buster himself has a little something to teach young fans about pursing dreams and self-belief.
While Sing is brightly colourful and will appeal to young audiences in truth it lacks the breath-taking quality of animation which is now so regularly showcased by Pixar and Disney. The film’s budget clearly was at least in part diverted toward securing the services of an all-star voice cast. While those vocal performances were no doubt a very worthy investment, in truth they sometimes somewhat outshine the animation quality. It’s simply hard to avoid drawing obvious comparison to Dinsey’s recent award winning and Oscar nominated anthropomorphic animal adventure Zootropolis. In truth the comparisons in both animation quality and storytelling complexity are far from flattering.
Perhaps part of the problem for Sing is that despite its central musical theme, the film ironically can only mostly manage karaoke rendition of familiar pop hits, unlike iconic Disney efforts that introduced their own original collection of memorable musical masterpieces. The only exacerbates the general feeling that as in real life the generic ‘talent show’ format is already far too overly familiar and riddled with clichés to capture audience’s imaginations any more. Ten years ago the film’s premise would perhaps have felt a lot more culturally relevant and a bit less overplayed.
The Ugly Truth
Sing is a very successful piece of light family fun sure to delight younger children. A line up of recognisable famous voices and musical numbers keep things watchable for weary parents and more reluctant older siblings.
Review By Russell Nelson