Week of 12/25/2016 – Film recommendation: SING
What can go wrong when you combine animation, a fun soundtrack, singing, talking, and dancing animals, and comedy? Not much, and Illumination’s highly anticipated “SING” proves just that.
The story follows koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) as he attempts to keep his theater afloat by announcing a singing competition. Among the main competitors: a teen gorilla named Johnny (Taron Eagerton), who is torn between following his dream of becoming a singer or joining his father’s gang, a stay-at-home mother of 28 piglets named Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a heartbroken teen porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a shy and timid elephant, Meena (Tori Kelly), and cocky gambler Mike (Seth MacFarlane). It doesn’t take long for the audience to see that each main character is dealing with their own personal struggles, and it just makes it that much easier for people to relate to any of these characters. But because of the many characters, there is not much room for full-on development; however, writer-director Garth Jennings offers each character just enough screen time to allow his audience to understand where they come from.
The film packs a punch with its use of well-balanced comedic and emotional moments. For instance, Meena’s awkwardness, accidentally knocking over the microphone stand every time she comes out on stage to her incredibly moving performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a moment of vulnerability, is just one of the many examples of perfectly balancing comedy with heartache. While the film prides itself on being a comedy, I wish there is just a bit more humor throughout. There are instances where the story seems to slow down for me, and because the movie is a bit long for an animated film, just a tad more comedic moments wouldn’t have hurt (as a 23-year-old, I am still a fan of fart jokes, and that one fart moment in the film is probably the funniest part of the movie for me). Additionally, because the film is called “SING”, I was hoping for more singing! Although there is a montage of auditions and each main character has about 2 songs, when the songs are cut down for time, it just doesn’t seem like enough. But when all is said and done, the last thirty minutes of the movie is a huge pay off and will have you tapping your feet and smiling so hard, it will make you feel like you have a hanger stuck in your mouth (especially when Tori Kelly aka Meena delivers a show-stopping performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”).
The one thing that parents look for in animated films is its message. What is the film trying to tell their child? Or even them? When it comes to positive morals, “SING” offers too many to count, which is never a bad thing (another plus to having multiple main characters with different personalities). One main message preached throughout the film is to “not allow fear to stop you from doing what you love.” Not only does this relate to every character’s story line, but it reminds us all to pursue what we are passionate about.
While “SING” has its flaws, the pros still outweigh the cons. Its underlying morals, lovable characters, and catchy tunes make this the perfect film for the entire family to enjoy. So this holiday season, sit back, relax, and don’t you worry ’bout a thing (wow, that was super corny). (8/10)