This year has been a banner year for animated films from Hollywood. Not only have the quality of the films been great but on a low-key level they’ve been doing well over what was expected of them at the box office. Animation is one of my favorite types of filmmaking to watch. I studied art & make comics so there are things I pick up on that a lot of other viewers and critics might not. So here we are at the end of the year and the last animated movie is Sing from Illumination, the same studio that brought us Despicable Me and those Minions. In the summer they released The Secret Life of Pets that while successful has been kind of forgotten by people and it seems the award voting societies. Sing at first look is like a dramatized comedy of America’s Got Talent but starring animals. I remember when the commercials came out most people rolled their eyes and gave me side eyes when I said – this joint gonna be FIRE. So now here it is, Holiday time and the film is out for everyone to see. Was my hype justified or nah?
But before that part; what is Sing about, huh? It’s about a Koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), who owns and runs a struggling music theater. See he’s run terrible play after terrible play and now he’s on his last legs trying to keep the theater. So Buster has a great idea while talking to his best friend, sheep Eddie Noodleman (John C. Reilly) to have a singing competition. Through a misprint on the flyer claiming the prize is $100,000 rather than $1000 the turnout to the auditions is a huge success. The standouts are Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a homemaker pig who dreams of performing but put off her dreams to take care of her 25 children and inattentive husband. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), an arrogant mouse who plays the sax on the street and can sing like Frank Sinatra yet constantly gets himself in trouble. Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a punk rock porcupine who has a great voice but is put down constantly by her less talented boyfriend. Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla who’s family business is thieving although he wants to be a singer. And finally Meena (Tori Kelly), a shy elephant who has a great voice but can’t sing in front of an audience. Many hijinks ensue as Buster tries to put this show on and for it to be a success so he can save his beloved theater.
Overall Sing looks good, it’s nice and bright and all the characters stand out and easy to tell apart. At this point, this might sound generic but in a movie where it’s all anthropomorphic animals you’re going to see more of one animal of the same species so you can tell Rosita from the other pig characters. The characteristics of the design and performance are each unique to each main character. The stand out for this movie are the jokes and the lighting. The textures don’t take it to the next level like Moana but the lighting here really wrap the world in color that works with the pop nature of the songs, not to mention the light, positive nature of the story. It helps tie together things thematically for me while watching it. Most of the voice acting in this film is good and really blend into the characters. I never noticed most of the voices as being from famous people, like this is the first time I didn’t know Seth MacFarlane was voicing a character, I’d say that is a FEAT!
To be honest out of everyone I know I was the only one who was excited to see this movie. The good thing about it, in the end, most of all the people in the audience with me were won over and enjoyed the movie a lot. I can’t really sit here and say that Sing is up there with the animated heights of the year like Zootopia, Moana, or Japan's top-grossing anime, Your Name. But it is a really great family movie that should entertain mostly everyone, and picked some good songs to have the characters sing. One thing we’ve learned about Illumination this year is that they can make really great animated films that doesn’t have one minion in it.
Rating: 4 out of 5