I love to sing. I used to dream about being a singer and while I gave up that dream for one involving pen and paper, this movie still tugged on the threads of those long forgotten hopes. Even though it is animated and billed as a children’s movie, the idea of a movie about a singing competition was impossible to resist, and I am so glad I didn’t hesitate because this movie totally was worth the time.
The movie opens up by introducing you to Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), an optimistic koala who when he was six saw a musical production at the theater and was hooked on making entertainment come alive. As an adult, he has lived his dream but has struggled to be successful. Now, in order to save the theater that he loves, he comes up with the scheme to put on a music competition ala “American Idol” or “The Voice”.
The movie quickly introduces the contestants, each with their own story and own reason for wanting to perform: There is Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) a pig, who’s the mother of 25 piglets who feels underappreciated. She is paired with a bubbly stage partner Gunther (Nick Kroll). We meet rebel Johnny (Taron Edgerton), a gorilla with a heart and his father, Marcus (Peter Serafinowicz) who wants him to follow in father’s criminal footsteps. Ashley (Scarlett Johansson), the porcupine, is one half of a rock duo and her boyfriend thinks he’s the real star. But Buster only wants Ashley to perform. Mike (Seth McFarlane), the mouse, has a Sinatra like voice an attitude to match. Last is Meena, (Tori Kelly) a shy elephant who struggles to overcome her fears of singing in public.
Buster sets a prize for the competition, one he can barely afford, $1,000. As his assistant, Matilda Crawley (Garth Jennings) types up the flyers, she bungles and the amount is changed to $100,000. Buster doesn’t give up and schemes for a way to come up with the money but even his partner, Eddie Noodleman (John C. Reilly) doubts him. Issues arise with each of the contestants as well as they all work to pull off the show of a lifetime. But the question remains if Buster will pull off the miracle of a lifetime and save the theater.
The voice actors do an incredible job of playing their roles and singing their songs beautifully. Matthew McConaughey played his part with an upbeat attitude. Scarlett Johansson rocked as Ashley. Reese Witherspoon had Pig Power with awesome comedy by Nick Kroll. Both Taron Edgerton and Tori Kelly had tons of soulful music. There are some really funny bits that made the audience laugh. Each character has a story arc and each of those stories is resolved by the end of the film. The pacing is excellent, each character’s tale woven into the main storyline without missing a beat and the writers do a good job of giving you a complete overall story that will appeal to the dreamer in all of us that if we work hard, we’ll accomplish our goals. And even the secondary characters were excellent with singing light-up squids, a k-pop fox girl band, and Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders) as Eddie’s Nana who is a former singing star.
The variety of music is well selected to have you dancing in your seat and attempting to hum along which both my husband and I did. Even though my husband is not a fan of any reality singing competition shows, he loved this show and thought it was full of heart. The story was fairly predictable but has to be that way to some degree to carry out the story arc. And while it is not an original idea, it is a humorous send-up of singing competitions. The writers might have given us some more original music, I really loved Ashley’s song because it was new to me but the music has something for everyone which will help it reach a wider audience.
This movie is adorable and will appeal to dreamers big or small. The children in the audience had a great time along with their parents and I really liked the movie. If you want to go have a fun time with lots of rocking music, go check out Sing.
Rating: 4 stars
Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (Academy Award® winner Matthew McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist—okay, maybe a bit of a scoundrel—who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.
Five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (Seth MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Tori Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Nick Kroll, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Serafinowicz, Leslie Jones, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, Beck Bennett
Written and Directed by: Garth Jennings