By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
With the holidays and the end of the year comes the push by movie studios to promote some of their best films to make the cut for the awards season. This works out well for adult cinephiles, as most of these movies are intended for mature audiences. However, this often makes it difficult for parents wanting to take their children to the movies to keep everyone entertained. Fortunately, there is a movie opening in time for the holidays that audiences of all ages can truly appreciate. The new movie from Illumination Entertainment, Sing, will guarantee a great time will be had by all, regardless of age.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Buster Moon, a koala theater owner who has had a passion for show-business since he was a young child. Buster accomplishes his goal of opening his own theater, but has struggled for years to keep it open. With the bank threatening to take his property away, he desperately decides to produce a singing competition with a promise of a one-thousand dollar cash prize. Due to the clumsiness of his well-meaning iguana secretary Ms. Crawley (Garth Jennings), the promotional flyers promise an even larger prize amount attracting a variety of interested animals, including the overwhelmed pig housewife Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a troublesome mouse sax player and crooner named Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a punk rock porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a sweet young gorilla named Johnny (Taron Egerton), an awkward and shy elephant named Meena (Tori Kelly), and a dancing machine of a pig named Gunter (Nick Kroll).
Written and directed by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow) and co-directed by Christopher Lourdelet, Sing is a fun and delightful family movie that has much heart. The movie’s main plot is relatively simple and basic, but Jennings does a fine job of juggling the contestant’s individual stories and develops most of the characters very well in a short amount of time. The humor mostly works well, with few flops and like most great animated family movies, there are plenty of moments audiences of all ages can appreciate. Jennings offers some surprises of both comedic and dramatic varieties and the tension and drama builds effectively making the resolution and conclusion more satisfying.
Jennings and his casting department have assembled an excellent voice cast for the film that can deliver the goods when it comes to singing. I was somewhat impressed with McConaughey whose voice I didn’t recognize right away because he restrains his recognizable Texas drawl and gives Buster an eloquent speaking voice. I also didn’t quite recognize Seth MacFarlane who gives Mike a slightly nasally voice similar to Joe Pesci; however, when Mike sings, MacFarlane’s wonderfully smooth singing voice is identifiable. The film also features the voice work of John C. Reilly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Peter Serafinowicz, Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, and Leslie Jones.
I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned how enjoyable and fun the songs and music are. The singing performances by the cast and the music accompanying them will have audiences wanting to sing along, tap their feet, and maybe even dance in their seats. One of my guests for the screening was my friend’s little daughter who couldn’t help herself, so she got on her feet and started dancing during a couple of the numbers. So if my positive review isn’t enough to encourage my readers to see this film, I hope the joy of a little girl will. Sing may not break any ground with any powerful messages, but it does offer delightful entertainment that everyone in the family can enjoy.