Plot: Buster Moon has had a passion for the stage since he was a child, when he saw incredible talents light up the audience with larger than life performances. As an adult, he would manage a historical theater of his own, but his productions haven’t exactly been smash successes. Now he is on the brink of financial ruin, but he is certain that his next show will be so beloved that it will save the theater, though he has no ideas and even less cash. But inspiration soon strikes and he envisions a grand talent show, one loaded with fresh, undiscovered voices that will delight the audience and launch themselves into stardom. So he prints up a ton of fliers to advertise the talent show, unaware of a mistake that lists the prize as $100,000 instead of $1,000. As a tidal wave of prospective entrants swarm on his theater to audition, can Buster somehow turn this mistake into his saving grace?
Entertainment Value: I wouldn’t rank Sing up there with the best animated features ever, but it is a cute, warm, and positive movie. The narrative is basic, but hits all the needed bases, setting up the talent show well and populating the movie with some fun side threads. I appreciate that the time is taken to weave some interesting backstories on most of the prominent characters, but exposition never feels overdone, keeping the pace on track. I think Gunter is the only main character that isn’t given much depth, but he is pure comic relief, so it isn’t a real concern. The others are given simple, but effective plots that hit on well known ground, such as the overworked mom, the dejected love, a son breaking out of his father’s shadow, and a shy girl trying to shine, while Buster is a strong anchor with his lead narrative elements. The movie’s humor is brisk and rapid fire, so a lot of the jokes are silly or slapstick in nature, but there’s also some effective character driven laughs. So yes, the movie is light and doesn’t go deep, but it does have some substance as well. I’m always impressed as at how well the movie juggles the big ensemble and makes it all weave together well.
I loved the movie’s bright, colorful visuals and despite a sizable cast of characters, the individual designs are distinctive and effective. Even animals of the same kind have looks that make it simple to distinguish themselves, such as how different all the pigs are, despite being so similar in many ways. The animation overall is impressive, with rich backgrounds that feature a lot of active elements and a ton of detail, while the various characters are brought to life in grand ways. In addition to the general detail of the designs to ensure similar animals remain distinct, the animation also helps bolster that approach. Gunter and Rosita share a lot of visual traits, but look and feel very different and this is true of all of the various animal types. The voice cast is stacked too, with Matthew McConaughey in the lead and his performance is quite good, much more reserved than I expected. Reese Witherspoon, John C. Reilly, Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Kroll, and a wealth of others are also here, giving us quite a deep roster of talent. Sometimes you just want a brisk, fun movie and to me, Sing is able to fulfill that niche quite well.