2016 might had some very good animated movies, but they were possibly the most forgettabl bunch in recent memory. Finding Dory was good, but overshadowed by the original. Secret Life of Pets was a cute movie, but not enough to make it on any lists of great movies. Trolls was better off as a platform for Justin Timberlake’s summer hit. Angry Birds was funny, but several years too late to catch onto the franchise craze. There are several others … but I can’t remember them without racking my brain and having Google help out. Sing was a good way to cap off the year by continuing the tradition. I would give the movie a 5/10 “singing pigs”, which in a weird way is too low for this movie.
Sing was an entertaining movie to watch for the whole family. It seems like animated movies these days feel the need to cater to adults by throwing in obvious euphemisms and double entendres, but Sing! zigged and went the wholesome route. The movie had it’s fair share of comedy and drama that tugged on some heartstrings. The auditions and final performances were obviously the parts that people will come back to the movie to watch. There are several clips that didn’t make the theatrical cut, so I am sure the “Ultimate, Extended, Sing Along, Director’s Cut” will have plenty more to enjoy.
The voice talent was top notch with a few surprises. The first is that most of the singing comes from actors / actresses I didn’t know could sing. Taron Egerton (Kingsman‘s Egsy) was the standout and sounded like a professional, I can only hope he learned to play the piano to outdo Ryan Gosling in La La Land. Scarlett Johansson sang with the perfect teenage angst to accompany her raspy voice and Reese Witherspoon showed off the angelic voice we heard in Walk the Line. Another surprise was that Nick Kroll (of The League and Kroll Show) could not only sing well, but did so with an unrecognizable accent.
Another notable positive is the way the time was divided between characters. Every main character, yes all six of them, got a decent amount of screen time to progress their story. It helped extend an hour long movie to just short of two hours and was better because of that. The introduction to the contestants took you across the town giving you each character’s backstory and showing off their singing skills, all while leaving you wanting a little more. By the finale of the movie; each character’s spotlight had extended to several more minutes and finished in an almost montage tying everything together.
The first negative I have is the choice of songs for the movie. While the movie was great and did have a good soundtrack, they definitely missed some opportunities. There were a few songs from the trailers that didn’t make the cut, which I am listing as a negative since one of them was the song that sold me on the movie. Some of the songs that did make it didn’t highlight the character’s strengths or elevate the movie. For instance, Johnny has to learn to play the piano for his big song and the song didn’t showcase this fact.
Several of the characters in the movie were just annoying to watch. My main point for this argument is Mike (Seth MacFarlane). He doesn’t progress much from the beginning to the end. His goal to win the competition changes, but his character doesn’t. He is still a jerk with a complex and we see no growth within. My wife argues that this was his character trait and not a lack of storytelling. I feel movies don’t always need characters to hate, and maybe that is what Sing was trying to do, but Mike doesn’t give us enough to hate him, but surely doesn’t make me like him either.
The last negative I will point out is the movie was just not memorable. There wasn’t a character I felt invested in and a lot of the songs are appealing to the wrong generation. Another thing I felt would have given Sing a little boost would have been to include a central theme song. Animated movies tend to have one stand out song that is the ear worm to kids of all ages, but this movie lacked one. No song was bad, but none stood out either. The writers had a perfect opportunity with the original song they added in for Ash’s finale. Aside from that, everything flowed together which is great if you shut off your brain and are just enjoying the movie; but not so great if nothing sticks out after. There were a few highlight scenes, but the movie seemed afraid to have one character or moment out perform any other.
The movie is fun and enjoyable, just not enough to want to rush back out and watch it again or necessarily watch it in a theatre. Whether you had kids or are just a kid at heart, go ahead and add this one to your list of animated movies. You can then proceed to get a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy the movie for what it is, a light hearted comedy about a koala following his dream and inspiring others.
If you want to watch an animated movie from 2016 then I would have to recommend the only animated movie from my 2016 top ten list, Zootopia.It has more enjoyable characters, a more fleshed out world of animals (it didn’t just replace humans with animals), and you didn’t have to shut off your brain to enjoy it.