03rd Feb2017

‘Sing’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Serafinowicz, Nick Kroll, Beck Bennett, Nick Offerman | Written by Garth Jennings | Directed by Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings

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Whilst Disney seem to be raiding their animated back-catalogue in the hopes of finding their next big cinema hit, abandoning the joyous nature of the animated movie for more dour live-action versions, it’s left to other studios – like Dreamworks, Illumination etc. – to keep the slew of animated kids film coming. Current kings of the CG-animated movie Illumination Entertainment, who also have Despicable Me 3 out later this year, hit cinemas early with Sing, a truly family-orientated film that takes it’s story from the current popularity of the TV talent show.

Sing tells the story of Buster Moon (McConaughey) a koala who grew up with a passion for theatre. However that passion does not make up for the huge overheads his theatre has. No longer able to sponge off his laid-back llama best friend Eddie and desperate for cash, Buster decides to throw a talent contest – a singing competition no less – to finally attract the big audience he needs to his theatre. And with a prize of $100,000 (a misprint on the flyer) Buster’s talent show attracts a wide range of competitors: including Momma Pig Rosita (Reese Witherspoon); Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a mouse with an atttitude and a voice like Sinatra; Gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton) who trades in getaway driving for singing; and porcupine rock chick Ash (Scarlett Johansson), amongst others….

Director Garth Jennings got his start in music videos, helming videos for the likes of REM, Blur, Pulp and Badly Drawn Boy, so it comes as no surprise that for his third film (his last, Son of Rambow, was back in 2007) Jennings returns to the music arena with Sing which blends his two backgrounds: music and great storytelling. Unfortunately I think the requirements of this particular film have hampered the latter.

Whilst the core of Sing’s story revolves around Buster, there’s also the stories of everyone taking part: Johhny’s relationship with his criminal father; Ash’s relationship issues, Rosita balancing motherhood with her dreams; and that’s not to mention the films other big story, that of young Elephant Meena (Tori Kelly) overcoming her shyness to shine on the stage. You see that’s the problem. There’s too many stories. You can’t really get invested in all the characters – it’s like watching snippets of a “sob story” on shows like The X Factor or The Voice, without any real context.

Packed with enough laughs and music (if anything it’s the music, a combination of well-known and new songs, that keeps the film alive) to keep kids entranced; Sing has plenty to offer families and would make a great cinema day out for adults and children alike. It’s just a shame that the trailer spoils all the best bits of by showing the hilarious montage of performances that make up the early part of the film!

Sing is in cinemas across the UK now.

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