There’s a danger when you have a big hit, whether you’re a singer or actor or something else, that it’s the only thing you are remembered for, the only thing people want to see. There’s a very real possibility Illumination Entertainment could have gone that way with the minions. Sing is here to show they can do without them.
Sing tells the story of koala Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Dallas Buyers Club) who is the owner of the rather grand Moon theatre. However, Buster nor the theatre have ever had a hit and thus it has fallen on hard times. Faced with foreclosure by the bank he has one last throw of the dice and puts on the best singing competition the city has ever seen.
Things don’t being well however as he tells his rather old and useless secretary Miss Crawly, voiced by writer and director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow), to put the prize as $1,000. A slip of Miss Crawly’s glass eye sees many more 0’s get added to the prize money and leaflets distributed before anyone sees. Moon now not only has to put on a show to save his theatre, he must find the prize money too.
What Jennings has written here is a wonderful, heartfelt movie that gets you right where it matters. It’s a tale of believing in yourself and others and overcoming adversity. Whilst a lot of films could have taken it too far with the message and soppiness, for example Disney, Jennings keeps it back enough and adds in enough laughs to make the movie enjoyable for children and adults alike.
Entering the competition we have a cool, ‘I know I’m good’ mouse called Mike, voiced by Seth MacFarlane (Ted, Family Guy). A pig who’s taken for granted at home called Rosita, voiced by Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde, Wild). A singing teenage porcupine called Ash who’s dumped by her boyfriend and voiced by Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Avengers). A gorilla who doesn’t want to be part of his father’s criminal gang but wants to sing called Johnny, voiced by Taron Egerton (Eddie the Eagle, Kingsman) and a stage-shy elephant with a fantastic voice called Meena voiced by singer Tori Kelly.
There are many other actors involved too such as Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Peter Serafinowicz, Nick Offerman, Adam Buxton and more. All the voices fit the characters wonderfully especially John C. Reilly (Wreck it Ralph, Step Brothers) playing Eddie, a lazy sheep who’s from a rich family.
The story is wonderfully written, tapping into current culture with singing competitions and cash prizes and how people see them as a way out of their existing lives. But how Jennings then turns the story to be about pulling together and helping one another is brilliant.
There are plenty of songs too, obviously, and plenty of laughs and those laughs come from throughout the cast which is quite a refreshing change in the animation world. Usually we have one or two ‘funny’ characters with everyone else serious. Here we have many more who bring little rays of sunshine to the whole thing.
I think that is really the key to this film. It’s a happy film, despite the adversity they all face in varying degrees. Everyone pulls together, everyone enjoys themselves and everyone is happy. It’s a great movie to start the year, one kids and adults will enjoy. Go, laugh, maybe cry but most of all Sing!