“Sing” stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, and Nick Kroll. Released on December 21, 2016, the film is about a koala who hosts a singing competition in order to save his theater from closure.
The film is directed by Garth Jennings, who also directed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow. After the success of The Secret Life of Pets back in July, Illumination Entertainment is hoping to copy that success with their latest animated feature that has a group of animals singing songs and learning some lessons along the way. That’s something you would expect from Disney’s The Lion King. If there’s one thing I should know about this film, it’s that it loves to put the emphasis on the word “sing”, with characters singing songs that your parents are familiar with and songs that are for a modern-day crowd. I saw this movie with my family today and truth be told, they couldn’t get enough of it. As for me, personally, I was genuinely surprised at how it turned out.
The story takes place in the world of anthropomorphic animals, which is similar to the Disney film, Zootopia, where a koala bear named Buster Moon (voiced by McConaughey) hosts a singing competition that he hopes will save his theater from shutting down. It’s like the kid-friendly version of The Voice. The film also focuses on a few competitors who each want a chance to show their talents. From a domestic mother of 25 piglets (Witherspoon) to a teenage elephant (Kelly) who has a fantastic singing voice, but has severe stage fright, these characters are relatable for their own reasons and this film represented that very well. However, I really didn’t see the moral for the mouse, who is voiced by Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane. He’s the type of character who’s in it for the money and for himself. I don’t see any reason why I should like this guy, but it’s nice to see MacFarlane in a kids movie for once. While the story didn’t have a lot of memorable moments, it was surprisingly heartwarming. These characters have a simple theme that carries over throughout the rest of the film, and that’s doing what you love and not let certain obstacles bring you down. I believe that kids are going to learn from this when they’re planning on chasing their own dreams. Unlike The Secret Life of Pets, this one favors thoughtful storytelling over cartoonish humor despite not being as fantastic as Disney or Pixar. The animation isn’t anything special, but it does its job at bringing this colorful world to life as well as adding some flare to the songs. Speaking of which, there were plenty of songs that were pretty darn catchy, and kudos to the voice actors for actually singing them. My only nitpick for this film besides the lack of purpose for the mouse character is that it can be a bit slow during certain scenes, but it knows exactly when to pick itself back up.
Overall, with its relatable characters, colorful animation, a splendid voice cast, and a story that has a surprising amount of heart, “Sing” is Illumination’s best animated film since Despicable Me. It doesn’t beat out the likes of Zootopia and Moana, but I would say it is a satisfying holiday treat that you and your kids don’t want to miss. If you’re nervous about whether or not there’s going to be another Minions short in front of the film, don’t be. There is no Minions short.