Released on Dec. 21, “Sing,” nominated at the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Year End Blockbuster and for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, was arguably one of the most enjoyable animated movies released in 2016.
A less-than business savvy koala, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is at risk of losing his theater to financial trouble. He and his friend plan to host a talent competition with a $1,000 prize to stir up some excitement and earn popularity to stop the theater from going under. Due to a ditzy assistant’s blunder, the talent-show fliers go out with a misprint saying the prize will be $100,000. This attracts a wide variety of contestants, who all want to win for different reasons: Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), the mother of 25 piglets, who wants some recognition, Mike (Seth Macfarlane), a mouse and conniving street-musician, Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla looking to make his own way and earn his dad’s respect despite breaking away from the mob family business, Ash (Scarlett Johansson), is searching for her voice in a toxic relationship and Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant dealing with stage-fright. Through a series of classic capers and antics, we see each contestant overcome his or her own challenges while Moon struggles to hide the fact that he does not have the prize money. He tries in vain to get the financial assistance from a former opera star and one of his childhood idols, Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders and Jennifer Hudson). There is a tragically timed accident, preventing the show from happening, but of course, it being a children’s movie, there is a happy, albeit predictable, ending.
The all-star cast, while somewhat surprising and unlikely for an animated musical, did an excellent job portraying their characters. McConaughey was almost unrecognizable in his role as Buster Moon. This movie, while obviously aimed at an audience of children, actually held some very deep themes and adult messages. There were also a lot of jokes and puns aimed toward an older audience, making it an entertaining movie for all ages and perfect for the entire family. The score was perfect; combining a mix of older, classic songs and newer, more relevant pop music, as well as featuring an original song, “Faith,” performed by Ariana Grande and Stevie Wonder. Personally, I had no idea Witherspoon or Johansson could sing until this movie, but both actresses pleasantly surprised me with their voices. Tori Kelly, a current chart-topping singer, was cast perfectly for her role and performed a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the end of the film.
Johnny was by far my favorite contestant to watch, as he had a heart-wrenching story and an amazing, soulful voice. His passion for music and piano was in stark contrast to his father’s thieving ways. He leads a bit of a double life, and the audience feels for him as he struggles to please his dad while also following his heart. Egerton sings songs like “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith and “All of You” by John Legend with ease, another actor who surprised even the movie’s producers with his vocal ability.
The stunning animation was to be expected. Illumination Studios, the creators of movies like “Despicable Me” and “The Secret Life of Pets” have created yet another amazing and complex animated film. A sequel has been announced for Christmas 2020.
Julia Mancini is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.