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Sing review: marvellous musical medley

September 15, 2016

FestivalsFilmReview | by Dominic Preston


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From the makers of Minions and Despicable Me, with a plot inspired whilst enjoying a pot of tea, comes the musical medley Sing. It’s a movie that stirs a sense of self-determination, sacrifice, taking bold decisions in life, and doing whatever it takes to succeed no matter the challenge. For those of you who enjoy a feel good animation movie combined with a splash of X-Factor then this will be the perfect film for you this December, so get ready.

Director Garth Jennings pulls together an all-star cast including Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, and Taron Egerton, who play Zootopia-esque anthropomorphised animals, co-existing in a city much like London or New York, but without any humans.

McConaughey plays a business-minded koala called Buster who lives in a small desk draw at his theatre, on the brink of closure as he’s unable to pay his bills. As a last resort to maintain his big dreams for the venue he decides to host a singing contest, hoping to draw new talent. When his clumsy 200-year-old lizard assistant Ms. Crawl (voiced by Jennings himself) sends posters soaring through the air for a $100,000 prize instead of $1,000, Buster has to seek sponsorship while making sure his contestants believe they’re still in the running for more than he really has.

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Each character in the lineup for Buster’s competition has their home struggles going on that we learn about along the way. Ash is a punk rock porcupine (Johansson) who’s finding her feet after a relationship meltdown; Johnny (Egerton) is a young gorilla who has the most soulful of voices, but is dominated by his father’s criminal lifestyle; Rosita the pig (Witherspoon) is the mother of 25 piglets; Meena the elephant (Tori Kelly) is a large yet timid creature who lacks in self-confidence; while a rather over-confident mouse called Mike (Seth MacFarlane) goes in search of real fame with his Frank Sinatra style pipes.

There are 65 or more songs in the film, ranging from current chart toppers to old classics. It’s also probably the only film in which you can enjoy both a snail in a dicky bow jiving to Christopher Cross’s ‘Ride Like the Wind’ and an un-assuming sheep belting out ‘Kiss From a Rose’ by Seal with all his heart. As with Sing‘s real-life reality TV forebears, where people really are vulnerable and give it their all, we invest our sympathies, pride, and understanding whilst watching the movie.

After the success of The Secret Life of Pets this year Illumination Entertainment has again excelled. Sing really is one for the whole family, so treat yourself to a good laugh this Christmas.

Sing screened at the Toronto International Film Festival 2016.

Words by Lisa Coleman