Singing competitions are something that we’ve witnessed in television for so many years now that they’ve become somewhat of an annoyance and a regular occurrence that they’re no longer a surprise. From the sob stories of X Factor, to the familiar troves of shows such as American Idol and The Voice, these particular famed television offerings have finally become the subject of a new movie, Illumination Entertainment’s Sing. Unfortunately, like the shows that it clearly bases itself on, Sing arrives when such properties are outdated and essentially feels almost 6 or 7 years too late to really grab us and deliver a great time.
Plucky koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) has dreamt of performing on stage since he was very little and as he grows up he finally gets to become the master of ceremonies in a theatre in front of big crowds. Unfortunately for him, these things come at a cost, and when the threat of his theatre closing hampers his success he looks to find a way to resolve all his issues.
The answer: a singing competition that will offer the winner and unintentional prize of $100,00, and one that will bring a whole host of different animals to the fray to sing their hearts out for the ultimate prize. From a gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to avoid a life of crime with his father, a pig (Reese Witherspoon) whose home life is dominated by an unloving husband and multiple children, a porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) who feels like she needs to break out of an unforgiving double-act and even a street performer mouse (Seth MacFarlane) who will stop at nothing to win, this is a competition that will host all kinds of individuals. Can Buster save his theatre and who will prevail as the winner of the competition?
These are two questions that the latest Illumination Entertainment movie wants the audience to find out the answers to, but in truth Sing is a movie that focuses less on making the characters fun and interesting and instead leaves it rather late to inject the fun into this animated offering. Part of the charm to Illumination’s previous offerings is their unique and exciting characters that are instantly cemented into your brain. The Minions still continue to dominate (even with their alien-like singing) and those animals from The Secret Life Of Pets presented that hilarity we don’t see behind closed doors, but here we have animals that never quite engage in the same way.
Admittedly, McConaughey is one of the stars who injects Sing with an essence of pizzaz but the rest of the gang feel almost one-note and uninteresting. It’s a huge shame especially as the cast list reads like a who’s who of talent you’d desire for such an animated movie.
That being said, the animation is as impressive as one would expect, especially in an early sequence where we whip through town to be introduced to each and every character that we’ll be witnessing belt out the signature tunes later in proceedings and there are moments of genuine spot-on humour, but it all feels too limited in its delivery.
Where the film excels is when the music finally hits and we can actually tap our toes to those familiar pop beats reimagined by the stars. It’s a moment where all family members can get involved and actually have a good time, something that should be present throughout the whole movie. Sadly, this isn’t the case and, as is often important with other animated properties, Sing actually avoids the notion of feeding the audience with as much adult-based content as child-friendly. This is a shame and serves the film unhelpfully, leaving it as one of the more forgettable animated entries in recent memory.
Sing is released in UK cinemas on 27th January.