SING! (A short animated movie review.)

On this blog, I like to review action movies. I do, however, watch other types of movies. Oh, about once a year I’ll sit down and watch a romantic comedy of some sort. (Last year was The Lucky One. Watched it twice. Very out of character for me.) I’ll watch the occasional drama. And I’ve got films on my shelf that I can’t really figure out what they are supposed to be and I’m not sure the filmmakers knew either. And I like animated movies, I love watching them, seeing the behind the scenes stuff. It fascinates me. (As I really, really wanted to go into that industry when I was a teenager back in the 90s.)

Recently, I watched SING! Then, I liked it so much, I had to watch it again the very next day.

In brief:

Koala Buster Moon owns and loves his aging theater. The lights, the pageantry, the magic of the stage calls to him. However, Buster isn’t very good at picking out the shows to put on in his theater and he is weeks away from foreclosure. In a last ditch effort to save his dream, he decides to put on a singing competition and attracts hundreds of hopefuls from across his city. Each of the hopefuls have their own dreams and life problems that intertwine with the future and fate of Moon’s Theater.

Whoever wrote the plot should get major props. They took five very different characters in the singers and made them all feel like ‘one of us.’ Whether you’re a tired taken for granted mom like Rosita Pig. Or the sidelined girlfriend with major enthusiasm and talent like Ash Porcupine. Or the guy who is stuck in a bad situation and wants an entirely new life like Johnny Gorilla. Or if you’re a shy girl with major anxiety issues like Meena Elephant. OR if you’re an arrogant bully like Mike Mouse who needs to be taught a lesson. You know, okay, maybe Mike isn’t that sympathetic. Or, well, you could be Ed Sheep, a guy without any idea of what he wants to do with his life. Or even Buster, overly optimistic, loves what you do, but for some reason, whether it’s bad choices or just not enough know how, it’s not working. There is hopefully, someone for everyone to relate to and all the stories tie together.

Plus, you know some very funny dialogue and visual sight gags. I loved Rosita for her ability to create a perpetual motion machine to take care of her family while she was at rehearsal. At the same time, it hurt to know that her family didn’t even miss her or realize she was gone until it broke.  I cheered when Ash broke it off with Lance and really came into her own. I liked how Johnny had a choice. He knew he could take the prize and go or he could try to win it on his own merits and chose the latter. And watching Meena take those baby elephant sized steps towards realizing her dreams was heartwarming. Mike, I’m not sure if Mike really learned anything.

And while all those characters were important and I loved them, the story was really about Buster and how far he would go to save his dream and what would he be willing to give up and who he would support to make the show go on in the end. Buster was the little optimistic heart of this movie. He encouraged the singers. It was a competition and only one could win and he could have fostered a spirit of divisiveness and pulled the singers apart. Instead it was Buster’s optimism that they could  all win if they tried hard enough and were dedicated enough and faced their fears that pulled the singers together and made them friends instead of enemies. He used his words. He communicated. And in return, the singers pulled behind him and pulled together to communicate too.

If I had children, which I don’t, this is the type of movie I would  take them to see again and again. Sure, maybe they’d see Finding Nemo or Dory once. But why would I want to have my children watch a movie repeatedly that doesn’t teach them to communicate with each other when there are hard times? Using our words for good instead of bad is an important lesson to learn.

The music is fun. The voice actors really put their all into the singing and all of them can sing. The covers were in some cases just as good if not better than the originals. All of the voice actors apparently loved to sing? Who knew? Sure, I’m a bit annoyed that there was another cover of Hallelujah in a children’s movie. And there are other Frank Sinatra songs than My Way (And New York, New York, and Fly Me to the Moon.) Overall, the music selection was fantastic and the original songs were good. I’ve played the credit’s Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande song Faith over and over since watching.

Is Sing deep, thought provoking entertainment. No. It’s not supposed to be. Is it fun? Oh yes.

 

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