Combine The X Factor with Zootropolis and you get this high energy animated musical comedy about a group of animals auditioning for a singing competition.
Koala bear Buster Moon (McConaughey) is a failed theatre owner desperate to save his crumbling playhouse. He hits upon the idea of hosting a singing competition to boost audiences and soon he has a queue of contenders, from underappreciated porcine mom Rosita (Witherspoon) to punky porcupine Ash (Johansson), shy elephant Meena (Tori Kelly) and gorilla Johnny (Egerton), who wants to leave a life of crime behind for the chance to sing, even though it will disappoint his bank robber dad.
In the spirit of ‘let’s put on a show’ movies like The Muppets, what can go wrong does, and there are some hilarious moments as Buster desperately scrambles to raise money to stop his theatre from closing down. There are some life lessons for the animals to learn, too – be brave, follow your dreams, be honest – but it never becomes preachy, just full of heart.
Best of all, as you’d guess from the movie’s title, are the songs. All the cast get to show off their vocals – Egerton and Witherspoon are wonderful, and it’s no surprise that Johansson (who sang, of course, for 2016’s The Jungle Book and also released an album in 2008)and Seth MacFarlane (who is a skilled swing singer when he isn’t working on his TV series Family Guy) are flawless, too. And the songs they all get to sing – more than 80 of them – are just the right mix of 21st century hits to thrill the kids and classics and lesser known songs to enchant adults. It’s hard to imagine another movie that could successfully include My Way, The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers and Queen/Bowie’s Under Pressure alongside Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe (which Matthew McConaughey sings – brilliant!) and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, but Sing pulls it off with aplomb.
As written and directed by Garth Jennings, who made the wonderful Son Of Rambow, this is an all-singing, all-dancing delight, that brims over with joy in every scene. It’s got something for everyone, and you’ll be guaranteed to be humming the tunes for days after the end credits have rolled. A musical treat.
Is Sing suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There is a character who often loses one of her eyes (it rolls across the floor etc) which may upset very young viewers, although it is played for laughs.
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