Featuring The Voices Of: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly, Taron Edgerton, Nick Kroll, Jennifer Saunders, Bobby Cannavale, Chelsea Peretti, Halsey, Leticia Wright, Nick Offerman, Eric Andre, Pharrell, and bono.
Directed By: Garth Jennings
Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated By: Lailani Jones Wilmore
The Plot: After successfully saving his career, Buster Moon is at it again, taking the collectively talented group of singers he discovered in the first film and trying to get a stage show that features all of them in some performing tourist type destination that is somewhere between Las Vegas and Branson, but set in this world of anthropomorphic animals.
What Works?: Well, it’s certainly an unnecessary sequel that really doesn’t put a lot of thought into anything. That being said, at least they continue to prop up talent that can sing. In the sequel, they went out and acquired Halsey and Bono among others, so there’s a real effort here to make sure that at least the music is good. I think that’s really the entire reason for the film, like they’ve seen how little people care about the need for coherent plot with regard to the Trolls franchise, and they’re just here to make something flashy, adorable, and loud.
So, this is the cinematic equivalent of dangling shiny keys in front of a baby. I think kids will still love it, even if adults notice the magic is gone. It features a ton of adorable animals singing pop songs. It’s kind of a merchandising dream, and with all the animated shows that have spawned TV shows, from The Croods to Madagascar, I feel like Sing will end up not only having a third film, but also a TV show version.
I appreciated the voice talents here, except for Garth Jennings, who I didn’t even bother listing in the voice cast. He plays a female character, and I know he was hoping to pull a Brad Bird and come up with an Edna Mode that would become his own iconic character, but it’s not an iconic character, and it just sounds like a grown man trying to sound like an old lady. It’s a vanity project, and if he wasn’t the director, he’d be fired. the only reason he’s in that role, is because he’s also the director, so there’s no one to tell him no.
What Doesn’t Work: The first film did such a nice job of setting up this American Idol/Got Talent/X-Factor/The Voice premise based around a singing competition. In the first film, we got invested in a handful of characters, and all learned about the backstories, the families, the dreams, and the desires. The sequel assumes you remember all that, and instead of embracing what made each character unique, bunches them together like a bastardized version of the Partridge Family, shoves them in a bus, and spends the rest of the film on new characters, useless plots that don’t mean anything, and generally racing to get to the end of this film.
This film moves so fast, it never has a chance to do a set up and payoff, because it is constantly trying to chase the next thing, because it wants to leave as much time for singing and dancing as possible. Take Tori Kelly’s elephant, who is self conscious about having to have her first kiss in this upcoming production. Not only are her concerns brushed off by moon, and she’s given a bit of a tool to have to kiss, but they have no time to establish a romantic love interest for her, so she just bumps into a random elephant who offers her ice cream because she looks sad, and then she’s in love. They don’t get to have multiple establishing scenes to help get the characters together. unlike other newbies, he’s not invited to be a part of the production. he just simply serves as an answer to her problem, so she can picture him, instead of the guy she has to kiss.
or, the new legend (played by bono) that Moon promises will be in the show. He’s crazy the first time we meet him, chasing his first victim away with a paintball gun. Then the second time, he’s a grieving widower, and that’s why he hasn’t performed in years. Yet, the porcupine promises Moon she can fix him. She does this by playing guitar and singing just a tiny bit, because the story doesn’t have much time for anything else. it HAS TO MOVE FAST.
So, we just race from scene to scene so much, by the end, nothing made sense. it was just loud, and upbeat. No one cares that Bobby Cannavale’s villain makes no sense. He’s a normal businessman, then some terrifying crime boss type, who loves his daughter, but when she gets “fired” from the show, he yells at her for her failure, a detraction from the usual supportive father who charges into the room and demands his daughter’s wrongs be righted. no, he’s just going to verbally abuse his daughter, then try and kill Moon. Even when Moon manages to get the show on stage, as promised, he still looks to sabotage it while it’s going on, despite it being wildly successful. So, is he a smart businessman or just a raging ball of vengeance? The film doesn’t know either. He’s just written so poorly.
I was never that interested in Sing going into it, but the first film did exceed my expectations. This second film has all the charm of a mediocre direct-to-video sequel. It jsut managed to keep it’s likely very expensive voice cast.
The Blind Perspective: While I think the film did a good job trying to move the characters around, I do feel like more could be done to let us know what these characters look like and are wearing. Too many times sequels assume you remember the first film. Not everyone has seen the first film. It’s not the best assumption to always make.
Final Thoughts: It’s something kids will enjoy. I’m sure of that. They don’t get in as deep on the plot things. They laugh at silly humor, and will be charmed by cute songs they’ve heard before. But, adults who found the first film charming, likely will find the sequel less so. It’s not unwatchable, it just doesn’t care. It’s the worst kind of sequel. The kind that knows no matter what, you’re going to pay out the ass to see it, so why bother to make this better? Why set out to beat the first film? This one is still going to make money either way, which it absolutely did.
Final Grade: C