Sing is the latest animated film from Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind Despicable Me, and The Secret Life of Pets. Its their first attempt to enter the world of animated musicals, and it features mostly covers of pop songs rather than original material.
The film follows Buster Moon, a Koala who holds a singing competition in the hopes of saving his theatre, and due to a series of mishaps ends up offering $100,000 dollars to the winner. The film follows Moon, and 5 of the animals performing in the show. There’s Jonny, a gorilla whose dreams of being a singer clash with his dad’s criminal gang. Rosita, a pig who has settled into a family life and has lost the passion for performing. Ash, a punk rock porcupine that has to play second fiddle to her boyfriend in their band. Mike, and arrogant mouse that gets involved with some violent bears. And Meena, an elephant who lacks the confidence to perform in front of others.
The problem is that the film does really struggle to balance what are essentially 6 different plots. Instead of feeling like a cohesive film, it is like a series of six different smaller stories that manage to hit just about every kid film cliché. These stories never feel that connected with one another, as there is almost no interaction between the characters, with the exception of Moon. Every character exists within their own little bubbles, and that just makes the film feel disjointed as a whole. That feeling isn’t helped by the fact that a lot of the things in the film happen because of coincidences, rather than the characters driving it forward.
The big selling point for the film is the voice cast. Sing stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth McFarlane, John. C Riley, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Jennifer Saunders, and more in major voice roles. It’s a lot of very talented actors and in McFarlane, and some of the more musical focused cast, there is also a lot of singing talent, and in a variety of different genres. Egerton really surprised me with his singing ability, he’s such a talented young actor, and he can add voice acting and singing to that list.
Where the film really fell through for me was humour. The Illumination Entertainment films have always had a good humour, all be it for a younger audience rather than playing to everyone. I felt that Sing was really lacking here. There wasn’t anything that came close to making me laugh. And for the first half, maybe more, of the film the young kids in the audience were often distracted by other things. The finale of the film did hold the attention of the audience a lot more, mainly thanks to the popular songs, and it offers nice resolutions to all of the storylines.
On the whole this is another average at best offering from Illumination. They are a studio that is trying to target the younger demographic, and it really alienates me as an adult viewer. Thanks to a rather dull and disjointed first couple of acts I don’t think Sing succeeds as well as some of their past films on that front, and the humour fell flat for me. But the talented voice cast is a big plus, and the finale was much stronger and actually does manage to wrap up the film very nicely.