A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.
Cartoons, er sorry, animated films have a tendency to portray animals as people. Yeah, Illumination does that again with “Sing.” The latest offering from this relatively new studio is not only funny for the kids but intelligent enough to capture adults’ attention too. In this particular anthropomorphic world, we have a koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughy, trying desperately to produce a show that will actually be a hit. Seems he is a real lover of live theatre, but he just can’t seem to develop anything people actually want to pay money to see.
He decides to produce a singing competition. Sure, we could always use another one of those right? His slightly senile assistant, an iguana with a glass eye named Ms. Karen Crawley (Garth Jennings), accidentally publishes the prize money as $100,000 instead of $1,000, which results in lines forming on the AGT level around the theatre, down the block and out towards the bay. Iguanas have eyes that move independently and since Crawley has a glass eye (which pops out at times), it always seems to be pointing in an odd direction. Some of that intelligent humor I mentioned earlier.
After auditioning everybody and casting the show, Buster discovers Ms. Crawley’s error when his best friend, a sheep named Eddie (John C. Reilly), shows him the flier, but instead of telling the contestants of the mistake and of the true prize of $1,000, he tries several different ways to get enough money for the promised reward.
The contestants chosen are Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a talented singer who gave up her dreams of performing to raise 25 thankless children, Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a subway performer who makes his living with his saxophone but has a set of Sinatra pipes on him as well. Rounding out the main contestants are Johnny (Taron Egerton), a mobster’s son who just wants sing and punk-rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson), who auditions with a band but is the only one offered a spot in the contest. Then there is Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant with a great singing voice, but severe stage fright that keeps her from actually ever performing. Rosita ends up being partnered with another pig contestant named Gunther (Nick Kroll) who can’t really sing but has some killer dance moves to spice up the act. A few other acts are given spots but they eventually quit allowing for Meena to take her place on stage.
Buster tries to convince Eddie to get his grandmother Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders) to fund the prize money for the show. Nana is an old theatre star of great magnitude. Think Norma Desmond… just not delusional. She wants to see what she is going to sponsor so she attends a dress rehearsal that ends in disaster and all seems lost. But true to the happy ending, Buster realizes that he has to put on the show with or without the prize money because these people need to have their day in spotlight.
There are more than 80 different pieces of music used in this movie. Garth Jennings has written a fairly formulaic script that doesn’t require a lot from her characters nor the audience. It’s an easy movie to watch and understand and there will be times that, if you ever once had a dream that got interrupted, you might just get a lump in your throat. The characters and backstories are stock and trade and the animation is decent computer-fleshed-out drawing but the main thing is voices. All the songs are expertly done with a solid talent. As far as I could tell, all the voice actors did their own singing and Tori Kelly who found fame on the internet, is splendid as Meena, the shy, stage-frightened elephant who comes into her own. All-in-all, an enjoyable couple of hours for my kids and my husband and I.
“Sing” will be available on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ 3D, Blu-ray™, DVD, and On Demand March 21st