Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
The newest animated film, Sing, is nothing groundbreaking or wildly original. It is just a good time with great music and a lot of fun.
We meet our main character Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) as a young koala as he is being enthralled by the theater. Young Buster decided right there that the life of the theater would be the life for him. Unfortunately, it had not worked out quite as well as he hoped. Wracked with money problems and several shows that failed, Buster needed to come up with something amazing to save the theater from repossession.
He decided to throw a singing contest. He was going to offer a prize of $1,000, but an error in printing led to the prize being advertised as $100,000 instead. Buster was having to scrape together everything he had to make the $1,000, so $100,000 wasn’t going to work. The problem was Buster did not realize it until it was too late, and he had cast his show.
The list of amateur performers who were looking to cash in on the non-existent grand prize included ape Johnny (Taron Egerton), who was supposed to drive getaway car for his father’s big robbery, Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine who is selected over her boyfriend in the contest, mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane) who crooned like Sinatra, Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), the housewife pig who with her 25 piglets and unobservant husband was being beaten down by life and Meena (Tori Kelly) the beautifully voiced but painfully shy elephant.
The animation was okay, but hardly anything that could be compared to Pixar or Laika, but the cast of voices here is fantastic, and, along with the fabulous music, is easily the standout aspect of Sing. There are all kinds of great songs performed by these characters as well as wonderful songs played in the background. The soundtrack of Sing kept my toes tapping the entire time. Sure there are some songs that you would absolutely expect to show up here (“Hallelujah” anyone?), but that is not a negative. There is a reason why these songs are included. They are beloved.
I really liked Buster Moon as well. McConaughey brought a great voice to the character who was part huckster, part inspirational speaker. He was Kermit the Frog from the Muppet Show mixed with PT Barnum. You always knew where Buster’s heart was found and, even when he would lie about the money, you could understand what he was trying to accomplish.
Sure, the story is simple, but that is not a bad thing. This is not the complex Zootopia with its cultural commentary, or Kubo and the Five Strings with its grand epic narrative. Sing finds its groove early and sticks to what it does best. These musical performances were excellent and took a simple story and filled the theater with entertainment. Plus, there were some feels as we had several characters complete their arcs successfully. Predictable, perhaps. Yet, fully engaging and enjoyable.
The whole family can enjoy Sing and parents will not be bored. The music energizes the film and elevates the material to another level. Jukebox musicals do not always work, but Sing is one that does.