Illumination Animation Studios have been on a box office roll. Whether the Minions franchise or their newest Secret Life of Pets, they are really raking in the money. With their latest, Sing, Illumination tries to take the concept of American Idol and The Voice with a twist: they are singing animals. Here’s the synopsis:
Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a bit of a scoundrel, he loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he takes one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Five contestants emerge: a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.
Sing has a lot of star power: it has Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, and Seth MacFarlane, with some fantastic cameos to boot. None of them were really recognizable, which I think is a good thing. The characters are fairly fleshed out, or at least as much as you’d expect from the creators of Ice Age.
While I thought this movie would shine in its music (apparently they almost figuratively bankrupt the studio getting the rights to the songs), what really worked most was its humor. It was very inventive and seriously laugh-out-loud funny in parts, especially near the end.
I loved some of the music, but some of it was less than ideal. I love Taron Egerton in almost everything he’s in (especially this year’s Eddie the Eagle) but the recordings of him singing are so full of auto-pitch that it made me a little queasy. For those that don’t know, auto-pitch is when someone sings off pitch and then a machine ‘corrects’ it. Although it doesn’t hide it very well, in my opinion.
The story was pretty predictable for me, but it was still enjoyable.
There is a figurative elephant in the room regarding this movie (although there are several literal elephants as well), which is the fact that it involves personified animals. Earlier this year, Disney released a masterpiece called Zootopia, which does the same thing. although it has different themes and isn’t a musical. In the end, the visual puns involving the different species of animals are funny, but the same entendres are infinitely more clever in Zooptopia. It’s just unfortunate timing that it was released in the same year, because otherwise it would have had more impact.
Sing is a fun, crowd-pleasing film and will almost certainly be a great outing with your family. It’s a fun, funny musical adventure.