Universal Pictures 108 minutes PG
There are so many talent shows, what’s one more? But this animated one, directed by Garth Jennings, is charming with cute as well as edgy characters singing some of your favorite music. It’s by Illumination, the filmmakers who did Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets, and With more than100 songs, or parts of them, there’s something for everyone, for parents to remember and for kids to hear for the first time.
It took Jennings five years to make and it’s his first animated film. He made a lot of music videos in the 90’s and dabbled in animation in college, in addition to directing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which we liked but was not a big critical success.
During this film, you’ll be tappin’ your feet hearing everything from Stevie Wonder and Taylor Swift to the late Leonard Cohen and the Gipsy Kings with so many more sung by actors who are and are not known for singing.
The star studded cast playing a variety of animated animals include Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon. He’s the somewhat shady, wise-cracking koala bear passionate about show biz trying to rejuvenate his dilapidated theater by holding the biggest singing competition of all time! One problem, he doesn’t have the prize money.
Director Jennings cast himself as the voice of Buster’s one-eyed lizard secretary, Miss Crawl, who accidentally jacked up the amount of the prize money bringing even more attention and contestants to audition which is one of the more entertaining parts of the film. There are several laugh out loud moments and plenty of colorful animation to see on the screen.
Reese Witherspoon is Rosita, the mother taking care of dozens of piglets who is not ready to give up her passion to sing. She teams up with Nick Kroll, a pig with a German accent, to sing “Venus.” His body language and the wardrobe for both are sexy and funny.
Everyone knows Seth McFarlane loves to sing Sinatra style. He gets to do just that, fedora and all singing “My Way.” Scarlett Johansson plays a punk rockin’ porcupine named Ash, picked to solo apart from her band mate. Welsh actor Taron Egerton(Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle) is the gorilla in the room. He no longer wants to help his bank robbing Dad on getaways. Egerton does a great job as the shy piano playing primate singing Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” Plus Jennifer Hudson lends her dulcet tones to Lennon and McCartney’s “Golden Slumbers.”
But Tori Kelly is the one to listen for when as the painfully shy teen elephant, Meena, overcoming her painfully paralyzing stage fright to bring down the house singing one of our favorites, Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing.” Even Wonder says she killed it!
Director Garth Jennings obviously had fun putting this one together with so much talent to work with. Kelly says he got right into the booth with her acting the other parts with so much energy to bring it out in her. Jennings says he still wants to do more live action but now that he’s done animation, he’d like to do more of that, too. This animation isn’t as fine and detailed as Pixar produces, but it is colorful and the characters are engaging.
If you’re looking for easy, safe, fun family entertainment and music, music, music, get ready to clear your throat and Sing. This movie will have you warbling with a smile on your face all the way home.