Sing review

sing_2016_film_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is a very pleasant and charming movie. There is a lot of heart and class with the movie, and it holds well on its own. Regarding the flaws, it tries to handle so much that the resolution for some of the plots are a bit unsatisfying, there are a LOT of characters, and it gets a bit predictable and convenient at times. Overall, it was a satisfying way to end the year.

Production

There is not a lot that was released about the production of the film. All I know so far is that the film was announced in January of 2014 (thus starting production in 2013) under the name Lunch, before it was changed to Sing. The actors were signed on the project and started recording in 2015. Apparently, this was a pet project from Illumination head Chris Melandandri, who wanted to be a film about a producer, like he was.

Story

The movie starts with a young koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) watching a show in a theater that consists of an opera singer named Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders and Jennifer Hudson) with his father, and the performance inspired him to open up his own theater. We skip some years to find out that his theater is about to shut down, as he has been avoiding the bank’s calls for anything other than an extra loan. After he decides to go out to lunch, we ride through the town, where we are introduced to our other main characters; a housewife pig named Rosita (Reese Whitherspoon), a street performing mouse named Mike (Seth McFarlane), a rocker porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a shy teenage elephant named Mena (Tori Kelly), and an elephant named Johnny (Taron Egerton), who does not want to be a gang member like his father.

Buster tries to get his rich sheep friend Eddie (John C. Reily) to get his parents to loan him money for his next stage play; which is a talent show of $100,000 (which was supposed to be $1,000, but his assistant Ms. Crawley (Garth Jennings)’s eye fell out, and added 2 extra 0s), but Eddie says his parents refused. Everyone rushes to audition, but everyone in the main cast is put on the show but Meena (who is rushed out after freezing by Mike), and Johnny (who only got cast because it was impossible for Buster to communicate with a giraffe). I am going to say it right now; there are many plots in the movie, and while I am glad that it’s not just about the “save the theater” plot, it can be hard to juggle, so I am going to put pictures of each character under this, and discuss their plots there.

Meena's family is extremely supportive of her, to the point that they tell her to go to Buster Moon and demand another audition. She does this after saving him from falling off the building, but he invites her to the show as a stage hand. When she gets home, the entire street is at their house holding congratulatory wishes, to the point where she is not even given a chance to tell them she's only a stage hand. Mike is often the one to throw jabs at her, and she is given a few opportunities to sing (as more people drop out), but she gets more and more nervous. She is very supportive of everyone else in the film, which is refreshing, and is inspired by Buster Moon.
Meena’s family is extremely supportive of her, to the point that they tell her to go to Buster Moon and demand another audition. She does this after saving him from falling off the building, but he invites her to the show as a stage hand. When she gets home, the entire street is at their house holding congratulatory wishes, to the point where she is not even given a chance to tell them she’s only a stage hand. Mike is often the one to throw jabs at her, and she is given a few opportunities to sing (as more people drop out), but she gets more and more nervous. She is very supportive of everyone else in the film, which is refreshing, and is inspired by Buster Moon.
Mike is an outright asshole. He harasses someone for giving him a penny, and pretty much steals the other person's money from him. His plot mostly involves trying to fake the funk with a mouse that is silent for most of the film. Because he thinks the money is his, he gets a loan to buy a car to impress the mouse at a nightclub. It manages to work, and he wins a gamble, but the three bears are aware that he cheated. This causes them to consistently go after him, and Mike continuously spends money on his girlfriend that he does not have. This eventually causes him to be more paranoid, knowing that they are after him. He is honestly the reason why things go so bad with the theater, and thinks that his old-school tone is the only talent in the film.
Mike is an outright asshole. He harasses someone for giving him a penny, and pretty much steals the other person’s money from him. His plot mostly involves trying to fake the funk with a mouse that is silent for most of the film. Because he thinks the money is his, he gets a loan to buy a car to impress the mouse at a nightclub. It manages to work, and he wins a gamble, but the three bears are aware that he cheated. This causes them to consistently go after him, and Mike continuously spends money on his girlfriend that he does not have. This eventually causes him to be more paranoid, knowing that they are after him. He is honestly the reason why things go so bad with the theater, and thinks that his old-school tone is the only talent in the film.
Rosita is a middle-aged housewife, who is a bit tired of her life, as her kids and husband love her, but don't pay much attention to her. Since no nanny wants to look after 25 kids after school, so she conveniently makes a bunch of devices, so she could be on the show for hours on end. Buster casts her on the show, but tells her that she is boring, so she is paired up with a flamboyant pig named Gunter (Nick Kroll), who can dance. She has to learn how to dance, but becomes more insecure, and after stumbling too many times, she walks out, claiming that she should stick to buying groceries. While shopping, she learns how to conveniently dance after listening to latin music. While this is happening, her devices at home starts to malfunction, causing her husband and kids to be trapped.
Rosita is a middle-aged housewife, who is a bit tired of her life, as her kids and husband love her, but don’t pay much attention to her. Since no nanny wants to look after 25 kids after school, so she conveniently makes a bunch of devices, so she could be on the show for hours on end. Buster casts her on the show, but tells her that she is boring, so she is paired up with a flamboyant pig named Gunter (Nick Kroll), who can dance. She has to learn how to dance, but becomes more insecure, and after stumbling too many times, she walks out, claiming that she should stick to buying groceries. While shopping, she learns how to conveniently dance after listening to latin music. While this is happening, her devices at home starts to malfunction, causing her husband and kids to be trapped. You never really get to see the perspective of a middle aged woman in animated films, so she was one of the most interesting characters in the film.
Johnny's father is a part of a gang that steals for a living, and he expects his son to be next in line. Johnny hides the fact that he is singing from his father, who pressures him to drive faster and to be more tough to take over on a task. He does this well, and a heist causes him to leave practice early, and is told by his father to wait for 37 minutes. Because he thinks he has time, he drives back to the theater to practice, and gets caught in traffic on his way back, which causes his father and gang members to be arrested. Johnny is also learning how to play the piano from Ms. Crawley. After ising his father from jail (who questions him), he finally tells his father about his dream of singing, which does not end well. This causes his father to refuse his visits for a while.
Johnny’s father (Peter Serafinowicz) is a part of a gang that steals for a living, and he expects his son to be next in line. Johnny hides the fact that he is singing from his father, who pressures him to drive faster and to be more tough to take over on a task. He does this well, and a heist causes him to leave practice early, and is told by his father to wait for 37 minutes. Because he thinks he has time, he drives back to the theater to practice, and gets caught in traffic on his way back, which causes his father and gang members to be arrested. Johnny is also learning how to play the piano from Ms. Crawley. After visiting his father from jail (who questions him), he finally tells his father about his dream of singing, which does not end well. This causes his father to refuse his visits for a while.
Ash is dating a guy who is less talented than she is, but he pushes her to the background, so he could get all of the attention. Buster only chooses her to be a part of the show, and she agrees to support the both of them opening a recording studio, since they hate everything mainstream. Buster forces her to be more girly for the performance, and after embracing it, her boyfriend cheats on her with another woman. This causes her to break down crying after singing Call Me Maybe.
Ash is dating a guy (Beck Bennett) who is less talented than she is, but he pushes her to the background, so he could get all of the attention. Buster only chooses her to be a part of the show, and she agrees to support the both of them opening a recording studio, since they hate everything mainstream. Buster forces her to be more girly for the performance, and after embracing it, her boyfriend cheats on her with another woman. This causes her to break down crying after singing Call Me Maybe.

As you can see, a lot is going on, and they switch between all 5 of them every minute or two, so it would have been hard for me to write down chronologically, scene by scene. Overall, their lives are getting worse and worse, and turns out, Nana is Eddie’s grandmother, so Buster coerces himself to get her to fund them, and she snobbishly agrees, thinking it will be a cluster-fest. It is the next day, and Buster gets Meena and some others to rearrange the theater that includes squids and water to impress her, and while some of the performances are going well, things go badly. Mike is caught by the three bears, and demands that he gives them their money, and he throws the theater under the bus, saying the money is in there. The bears open the prize money to see that there’s only a thousand in there, and their aggression causes the water to break, and the entire theater breaks down.

Everyone is sad, but everyone in the crew but Mike visit Buster (who is now residing in Eddie… or his parents house), and he tells them that the show is over, and that all of the doubters are right about him.  Buster and Ms. Crawley start a cheap and embarrassing car washing business, and Eddie hates seeing them like this, so he helps them out. While the three of them are washing a car, Buster hears a big and loud voice, following it to see that Meena is singing at the destructed theater. This inspires him, and everyone decides to repair the theater enough to be able to perform. The news decides to cover the mess, and as the performances start to perform better and better, people start to go to the theater. Rosita’s family start to see her in a different life, Johnny’s father breaks out of jail to make up with his son, Meena grows confident enough to sing in front of everyone, and Meena grows into a songwriter and that she is capable to move on her own, while her boyfriend misses her. All we get of Mike is him acknowledging that Meena can sing, before his girlfriend drives and saves him from the bears. Nana buys out the theater, it is repaired, and everyone but Mike and his girlfriend celebrate the reopening.

sing
This film is easily better than The Secret Life of Pets, and was a strong year to end animated films in this year. It is debatably Illumination’s best film, but I HOPE they do not make a sequel to this. There is a lot of charm and heart in this film, but it is also a disadvantage because you want to know more about it, and it is stuck in the constant of fighting for time with the other characters, and the theater plot. This year has shown that Illumination does not need to rely on franchises and Despicable Me to remain relevant, and it is clear they are becoming huge competition. Not the best film of the year, but far from the worst of this year either.

Characters

I am not going to post pictures in this section, since I am trying to save photo space, and I spoke about most of the main characters in detail individually in the Story section. Buster has a heavy attachment to theater, song, and the history behind it, also seeing it as an attachment to his deceased father, who invested most of his savings to purchase it for his son. Buster has to hustle through any merit to save his company, and unlike Mike (there are actually quite a bit of similarities), he is actually pretty likable. It could be debated that he does not really care about the people that much though. His assistant Ms. Crawley is hilarious, and Eddie has to learn not to be so spoiled, to actually have talent, and to become more of an independent man, which is somewhat debatable as well regarding to if he did that. Most of the other characters are fine though, and I already spoke about the main 5 above. There are a lot of small conversations among-st the group that leads to a very supportive and interesting dynamic.

Animation

What I will say about the animation is that there is a lot of varied designs between all the types of animals in the film. Regarding the setting, it is nothing unique, but there are some decent effects and textures. It’s kind of just the general city, but it looks a lot better than the Despicable Me films.

Music

There is a lot of songs (snippets that are a lot smaller than a verse) in the film, and most of them take place in the audition stage, so it ewally is not as much as you would think. Almost all of the songs are cover songs, and while I usually hate this, the songs are used extremely well, and help define our characters better.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on December 21st, 2016, it made (as of December 29th) $108 million domestically, and  $54 million overseas, with a total amount of $162,928,284 worldwide. Honestly, this is going to be a huge hit. The theater was packed when I was watching it, and it is performing strongly after only being open for a bit over a week. Illumination has a formula to get people into the theaters, and it is working.

Regarding its critical reception, most of the people are saying the same thing, which is that the story is familiar and not really original, but some people saw it as a negative, though others liked the story regardless. Overall, the reception is mixed-to-positive.

A lot of the awards are pending, and I think it might have had the disadvantage of its late release date, so it might have missed some induction opportunities.

Final Score
Story:
 7/10

Characters: 7.5/10

Animation: 8/10

Music: 7/10

= 29.5/40 = 74%

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