I reviewed Sing just a few months ago.  I found the film a very fun experience.  It really surprised me.  It went from a film I had zero interest in to being one of the best animated films of last year.

Why did I have zero interest?  Well the thing is I like Illumination Entertainment.  I really love Despicable Me and generally like the inferior but still fun follow-up.  However I was not crazy about the Minions film and thought Secret Life was passable but not amazing by any means.  But really I thought Illumination created one character that I liked: Gru.  Gru is one hell of a great character and he really is fun to watch in the Despicable Me films.  As a South Park Trey Parker fan I’m pretty sure I’ll be first in line for the third film because I can’t believe they landed him to voice a new bad guy.

 

So was Sing some bad kids movies with cute animal singing overplayed pop songs in an American Idol type setting?  No it is not.  Well…the plot IS about cute animals singing overplayed pop songs…kind of in a “The Voice” setting but it was by no means bad.  Not at all.  It was the best non-Disney animated movie of last year (and that includes beating that money-grab Finding Nemo sequel) and that is really, really saying something in a year where Kubo and the Two Strings also came out.  Was it better than its Zootopia anthropomorphic brother over at Disney?  No.  But let’s face it – Zootopia and Sing are two entirely different films.  There’s room for both of them and both of them are really terrific.

Before I get into the plot I really want to say that I loved how they used the music in this film.  It is mostly all songs you are familiar with but used very wisely.  And even when you are at the point where you never want to hear Katy Perry or Taylor Swift EVER again you still don’t mind it in this movie.  Some songs are the original versions, some are the characters singing them.  But the music is never bad, it never has you rolling your eyes, or saying UGH.  That’s really important when you have a movie where the music is coming non-stop.  As a fan of the rap-metal band Crazytown I loved that a buffalo(?) was rapping Butterfly.  I thought that was fantastic.  When I first saw the trailer for Sing that was the only snippet that sold me on the movie.

Matthew McConaughey voices the main character – a koala named Buster Moon.  First off I couldn’t even recognize it was Matthew and he doesn’t used that really laid back southern drawl we are used to.  So props for that.  Moon owns a failing theater that has never put on a winning play.  He owes his stagehands money as well as the bank.  His big idea to get out of debt?  Have a singing competition!  Surely EVERYONE will come see this masterpiece!

When Buster’s ancient secretary accidentally types the prize money being $100,000 instead of $1,000 performers come out of the woodwork to try out for this amazing show.  This ranges from (and boils down to) a pig housewife Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), cute mouse busker Mike (Seth MacFarlane), scared-to-sing elephant Meena (Tori Kelly), punk rock porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson), to a gorilla criminal-in-training Johnny (Eddie the Eagle’s Taron Egerton).

Of course when Buster finds out that the wrong prize was told to the contestants he nearly flips his lid.  But the show must go on and Buster moves forward to do anything and everything he can to avoid the bank, raise the capital, hold the competition, and save the day.  If it was just that straight forward it might have been a bit dull.  But thanks to character development for all of the characters and a plot that you couldn’t guess it made for a terrific film.

I love the character of Buster – he reminded me of Kermit during The Muppet Show days coupled with Max Bialystock.  He may not put on the best shows but he has a genuine love for theater and a can-do attitude.  The show must go on – and Buster is willing to do whatever it takes.

All the singing characters sing – of course – but I was impressed by the actors who actually sang.  I know Seth MacFarlane has an amazing voice already, I know Tori Kelly can sing thanks to her being an American Idol contestant, but ….Reese Witherspoon?  Eggsy from The Kingsman?  SCARLETT JOHANSSON!?!?!?!  Yup – they all sing.  They all sing WELL.  Egerton really blew me away with his voice.  That kid just impresses the hell out of me from Kingsman to Eddie to this.  Damn I can’t wait for Kingsman 2.

The character development was accomplished so well.  It wasn’t just Buster and his friend Eddie (a rich, lazy sheep played by John C. Reilly) but all of the characters were fleshed out.  You saw the dull life that housewife Rosita had to go through everyday and pined for her to succeed.  You saw the life Johnny had with his dad and his gang and wanted him to be free from it.  You saw how scared Meena was and how supportive her family was.  There was growth and it made you care about each and every character.  You wanted them all to win the prize – yet what they get in the end is so much better.

Honestly Sing just blew me away.  I was quite happy with the film and would love it to be a film that I’ll watch over and over again.  It is so much better than what Illumination has put out recently and is right up there with the original Despicable Me…if not even better.

Now the Special Features are great but I tried to approach them as if I was a kid wanting more from a movie – not as an adult trying to review some Special Features.  But guess what?  Even as an adult I probably appreciated the Special Features more than a 9 year old would.

First off there are three mini movies.  This is pretty standard with Illumination flicks as they usually put out three mini movies with their home video releases.

Gunter Babysits is the first one and features Nick Kroll as Gunter going over to Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and Norman (Nick Offerman)’s home to babysit while the two go out for a bit.  Babysitting is never easy but Rosita and Norman have like….25 kids.  While the kids are asleep when Gunter gets there it would be no fun if they stayed asleep.  This was a decent mini movie.

Love at First Site features Buster Moon’s secretary Ms. Crawley (Garth Jennings) wanting love so Johnny (Taron Egerton) puts her on a dating site.  Suddenly Crawley is going on all sorts of dates with all sorts of interesting animals.  Will she find true love on a dating site?  Does anyone?  This was the worst of the three…but still fun.

Eddie’s Life Coach was the best of the mini movies and finds us with slacker Eddie (John C. Reilly) still slacking in the pool house playing video games.  When his mother gets him a self help program and tells him he needs to complete the program in a week or get kicked out, Eddie gets off the couch and tries to improve himself.  However when he doesn’t get the result he NEEDS in the end, Eddie goes out in the world for some finality.

There is a 6 minute Making of the Mini Movies featurette.  It’s decent and the one thing I found truly interesting is how animators from America and animators from France work together to produce these featurettes.  Scratch that…I found it VERY INTERESTING to learn that Scott Mosier worked on the Eddie’s Life Coach mini movie.  It’s not surprising as he’s worked in animation before (Free Birds) but, as a fan of Scott (and Kevin Smith) I was quite excited to see him pop up in this featurette talking about making the cartoon.

The Making of Sing and Finding the Rhythm: Editing Sing are two featurettes that talk about making the film.  Fairly interesting for me.  Probably not for the kids.  Same with the Character Profiles.  I thought they would be something fun for the kids to read about each of the characters in the movie.  What it actually is are interviews with the castmembers about their characters.  Great for me.  Not great for kids.

“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” Music Video & Making a Music Video with Tori Kelly is exactly what it sounds like.  A music video and the making of a music video.  Thing about this music video is it is pretty bland and boring.  Tori Kelly has an amazing voice so I can’t take that away from her.  But it was pretty yawnsville.

Now the “Faith” Music Video & Lyric Video are two separate videos.  The lyric video can be great for kids to read/sing along with but the real meat here is the actual music video.  Why?  Faith was a new song for the film which brought Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande together.  The song is great and the video for the song is great.

The “Set It All Free” Lyric Video is another lyric video.  Kids will enjoy it.

Sing & Dance ‘ “Faith” is a choreographer along with his two dancing friends who have dances based on dancing from the movie Sing.  I watched a minute and shut it off.

The Sing Network are basically commercials made up of footage from the movies.  Like Rosita’s machine to feed her kids in the film…that’s a commercial.  I’m sure this is great for kids.

Lastly there is The Best of Gunter – and these are just Gunter clips from the film strewn together.  I suppose if you are in love with the character you will love watching these.  Personally Gunter wasn’t my favorite character so I didn’t really care.

Overall?  Some amazing special features that can appeal to almost everyone.  This bad boy is loaded to the brim which I love.  AND there’s no commentary (that I wouldn’t listen to anyway).

RANK: A

SPECIAL FEATURES: A