Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sing: You'll Really Dig It

Movie Review: Sing (2016)
Version: Library Borrow

If you liked Zootopia, if you enjoy America's Got Talent, you'll really dig Sing, an amalgam of both, hits of worldwide cultural phenomena.

Sing is the animated story of Buster Moon, the koala whose lifelong dream is to resurrect the success of the live theater he grew up attending with his father. The problem is, he hasn't had a hit since taking over the theater and the bank is closing in on foreclosure. In desperation, Moon organizes a singing competition with a $1,000 prize that in error is promoted to be $100,000, attracting thousands of singers and giving Moon renewed hope. Moon reduces the thousands of applicants down to a few and we meet the unusual stars of this movie: Ash, a teen porcupine with self-concept issues; Mike, a tiny mouse with a giant ego; Johnny, a gorilla who would rather sing than join his gangster-father in the family business; Rosita, a mother pig with an overwhelmingly big family; and Meena, a young elephant who needs a confidence boost. Assisting Moon is his wobbly secretary and right-hand lizard, Mrs. Crawley, and Eddy, a sheep who lives in his wealthy parent's pool house. Together, this rich palette of characters bring this story to life in a bright canvas of colors and songs.

The animators and sound editors string together a wonderful collage of audition performances in a wild range of animals featuring amazing voices and comic performances. When we get to the final acts, we are given more strong animated and sound performances, from the rough starts to the improving rehearsals, to the final show, enough to entertain you all evening (or day). The next to last performance, with Mike the mouse, singing "I Did It My Way", is particularly stirring. And throughout the film, the animation sequences are exceptional. For example, after singing a duet, one couple can be seen breathing labored as in real life. as if they've had a real workout. And toward the end, a set reconstruction scene, done in fast motion, looks so real you could swear it was filmed on location. In the opening sequence, Moon rides a bicycle through an amazing visual kaleidoscope that's as real as anything in real life, except it's "peopled" with animals instead of humans.

The voice casting is wonderful, too, with Matthew McConaughey playing the lead as Buster Moon, Reese Witherspoon playing Rosita, Seth MacFarlane playing Mike, Scarlett Johansson playing Ash, John C. Reilly playing Eddy, Taron Edgerton playing Johnny, and Tori Kelly playing Meena. Mrs. Crawley is played brilliantly by Garth Jennings. Jennifer Hudson croons a tune as a young Nana, Eddy's grandmother, who Moon was thrilled to see perform in the theater when he was a young koala.

To say I enjoyed Sing is an understatement. I watched it twice with my daughter and my wife. If you're into animated films, if you liked Zootopia, if you enjoy America's Got Talent, you will be thrilled with Sing.

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