Sing – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone
Directors: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings
Writer: Garth Jennings
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane
We may have reached saturation point with reality singing competitions. The catchy tunes, the emotional back stories, and the ultimate triumph against all odds are all too predictable. But in writer/director Garth Jennings new animal-filled animated adventure, these predictable elements provide irresistible joy in an imperfect film. Created by Illumination (who created Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets;) the animation lacks the personality of other animators, despite some impressive visuals.
Owing to a clerical error from one-eyed assistant Miss Crawly (voiced by Jennings), the singing competition’s poster advertises a prize of $100,000 rather than $1000. This further adds to the troubles of manager Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey); who only runs the competition in a desperate attempt to save his Theatre. Unsurprisingly the prize-money on offer draws all sorts of creatures, including reluctant criminal Johnny (Taron Egerton) a gorilla with a surprisingly soulful voice; emo porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson); and mother of 25 piglets Rosita (Reese Witherspoon;) all entering the competition in an attempt to transform their lives.
What follows is a mix of classic and contemporary pop hits, attempting to keep both adults and children happy. This is thankfully interspersed by moments of brilliance, such as Rosita’s impromptu supermarket dance routine, or Buster and best friend Eddie’s decision to use their fluffy exteriors to wash cars when times get tough. Sadly these are all too rare amongst the generic plot points, but it keeps the action moving nonetheless; drawing the audience ever closer to the magnificent grand finale. There are moments in which the seemingly infinite number of animated films cause us to compare them to one another. But maybe, like the reality competitions Sing is based on, the real secret is to forget comparison, and relish the escapist joy they bring.