‘Sing’ Review: It’s More About The Characters Than The Songs

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Sing’s characters carry the movie, but it doesn’t live up to its name

Illumination is becoming quite a force to be reckoned with. Just short of Pixar and Disney, it continues to grow each and every movie. Using the minions as a selling point is working and continues to. Illumination’s second movie of the year has a great cast and some great characters, but the ‘teeny bopper’ type song covers make the songs unmemorable.

The once successful Moon Theatre was the host of some amazing plays. However, now it’s becoming a quite a dump. The owner of the theater, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), has failed to make a single successful gig.

One day, he comes up with the idea that could save his decaying theater, a singing competition. Johnny (Taron Egerton), Rosita (Reece Witherspoon), Ash (Scarlett Johansson), Mike (Seth McFarlene) and Meena (Tori Kelly) all give it a shot hoping to achieve their dream. Along the way, they find out that their dreams may require more sacrifices than they may be ready to deal with.

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Buster Moon is perfectly voiced by Matthew McConaughey

For a movie named Sing, it’s quite surprising that the singing is not the most exciting part. The characters are the real stars as they steal the show more than once. Each character is given a very human reason as to why they want to participate in the singing competition. The passionate and optimistic koala bear is beautifully voiced by a vibrant Matthew McConaughey. Taron Edgerton and Scarlett Johansson also give terrific performances as a gorilla trying to escape a difficult life and a wanna-be front singer porcupine. Each is given interesting stories, and those stories do carry the whole movie. To make your audience fall in love with every character is a hard thing to achieve and fortunately, Sing realizes just that.

Not so memorable are the songs which are lacking. Actually, the songs are pretty terrible. Playing off the same mediocracy of Trolls‘ songs, Sing transforms well-known songs to a Mini-Pop Kids’ special. Almost every song is glossed over with techno beats and autotune making “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John almost unbearable. Worst is that the whole singing competition gimmick (apart from the auditions which were funny) feels like fillers.

It is only when director Gareth Jennings (Son of Rambow) finds a way to weave in the characters’ stories into its central singing competition plot that the story starts to shine. It makes up for the fact that the singing is mediocre. In the end, it’s not about the singing competition but about a group of people (or animals) fighting against the various obstacles to attain their dreams.

From all that Sing has working against it, it does end up working, and there are moments of pure brilliance, but one should wish for more from a studio which is currently up there with Pixar and Disney. The characters all work in their own ways, and you feel for them through their ups and downs. If you can get past the fact that a movie called Sing doesn’t have any great songs, then just like me, you will enjoy this film.

GRADE: B-

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