“Sing” features 65 pop songs in it, which the rights of costed 15 percent of the movie’s 75 million dollar budget (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures).
The 2016 movie “Sing” was a production of the studio Illumination Animation, the same studio that is responsible for films such as “Minions” and “The Secret Life of Pets.” “Sing” continues the same tradition as these other movies as being amongst the lowest form of animated entertainment.
In an effort to save his failing theater from bankruptcy, a koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) plans a singing competition with a grand prize of 1,000 dollars. However, when a typo leads everyone to believe the grand prize is actually 100,000 dollars, Buster has to work this situation into his ultimate plan to save his business.
Just by simply reading the plot synopsis of “Sing,” it is easy to detect what some of the biggest problems for the movie are going to be: namely the story and the characters.
In terms of the story, it is a string of plot holes and idiotic character decisions. It is established that Moon’s theater is losing money because he does not know what shows to do to get an audience, so he decides to host a singing competition (and based on how he goes about planning the competition by forcing songs and talents on the performers that do not go with their music it is clear he has no idea how to run a singing competition either). Why would anyone believe a failing theater would have that kind of money? Then, instead of coming clean about the prize information being a typo, Buster just runs with it so there can be extra stakes to the story.
In terms of the characters, they are all either unlikable or manipulatively written for the purpose of the audience feeling sympathy for them. Buster is essentially a conman whose introduction to the movie is him running out of his theater to avoid paying some of his stage hands, and one of the competitors, Mike (Seth MacFarlane) is rude, arrogant and aggressive. Then the rest of the characters are all one dimensional and overly sympathetic with issues ranging everywhere from being shy like the character of Meena (Tori Kelly), to being in an underappreciative marriage like Rosita (Reese Witherspoon).
While all of the characters are poorly written, the cast does a decent job. There is a very talented cast that also includes the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Taron Edgerton and Nick Kroll, and they perform well when it comes to the musical numbers. In fact, there is only one thing that is consistently good about “Sing,” and that is the music. There is a wide range of it from more contemporary music like Katy Perry’s “Firework” to Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” and even if someone were to not be a fan of the genre or specific song being performed, it would be hard to say that the rendition of it was not well performed.
Outside of the music, the only other aspect of the film that is done well is the animation. While it is mostly good, it is not consistently good like the music is. Based on how the animation looks, there is never a scene that is not aesthetically pleasing to look at. The real downfall with the animation, however, is with the character designs. Almost all of the characters except for a few of them have character designs that look like they are just the generic animal bodies with different sets of clothes thrown on them. It just looks lazy.
Lazy is actually a very good word to use to describe “Sing.” As stated above, the characters all have overly sympathetic struggles and story lines to make the audience easily care about them, but that is not where it ends. All of the characters fail and succeed at the same times so that no character is above any of the others at any point, and some of the characters’ successes, particularly Rosita and Edgerton’s character Johnny, are just forced on for illogical reasons because everyone needs to be victorous in the end.
“Sing” is a good looking and well performed movie, but the animation and performance skills are all wasted on a product that did not deserve them.
Final grade: D-