Sunday, March 05, 2017

'Sing' Is an Unremarkable Yet Amusing Animated Musical

Sing is the last 2016 film that I’ve been meaning to watch.  From its trailer, I knew that it’s going to have a clichéd storyline.  But I didn’t care, since the concept of an American Idol for anthropomorphic animals looked tons of fun.  Plus, it boasts a stellar voice cast, with names like Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Nick Kroll, and Youtube star Tori Kelly.

It’s about an optimistic koala named Buster Moon (McConaughey) who holds a singing competition to save his sinking theater.  After a typo on the fliers brings in an above-than-deserved audition turnout, Moon picks five final acts: Rosita (Witherspoon), a housewife and mother to 25 piglets, and Gunter (Kroll), a “spicy” pig dancer partnered by Moon to Rosita; Johnny (Egerton), a gorilla gangster’s son; Ash (Johansson), a porcupine punk rocker; Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse street musician and crooner; and Meena (Kelly), a timid teen elephant with severe stage fright.
It’s not exactly the American Idol-style narrative that I was expecting as the actual contest proper never exactly materialized beyond the audition and rehearsals.  But it still delivers a couple of funny and enjoyable song numbers.  The story has some witty writing here and there, but it never is able to shake its predictability off.

Like Secret Life of Pets, Illumination’s other movie in 2016, Sing is entertaining and even moderately heartwarming, but it’s not remarkable enough to compete with the Disneys and Pixars.  Still, I’ll find an announcement of a sequel a welcome news.  Animated animals singing songs are always amusing.

Miscellaneous musings:
  • You know whats great about hitting rock bottom? Theres only one way to go, and thats up!”  When Buster Moon said that, I was expecting Shania Twain“Up!” to be sang.  Missed opportunity.
  • Another missed opportunity: spoofing/covering The Phantom of the Opera”, particularly the “Sing!” vocalization part.  I think that would have been fitting for a sequence of Meena overcoming her stage fright.
  • Did the voice cast really sang those song numbers?  If they did, I’m impressed, especially of MacFarlane and Egerton.

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