Sing: An unaffecting, formulaic musical

Among the earliest things you notice about Sing is how busy the filmmaking is. The camera is constantly on the move, rushing in and out of various settings. The atmosphere is full of colour with the universe teeming with objects that are constantly moving in the periphery. Scenes quickly make way for one another, and you’re never allowed to dwell on the proceedings. While the quick pace keeps you on your toes and keeps your mind off the cliched story, it makes it hard for you to emotionally connect with any one character. And boy, does Sing have characters!

There’s Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala who’s organising a singing competition to bring the crowds back to his theatre. There’s Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a domestic pig so burdened by household chores and her 25 piglets that she can’t fulfill her dream of being a singer. There’s Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine punk-rocker who also has to deal with boyfriend issues. And then there’s the pick of the lot, Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a small white mouse but compensating for the size of its body with the magnitude of its arrogance. And then, there’s Eddie the sheep, Meena the elephant, Johnny the gorilla, Karen the iguana. Phew. There are way too many characters—each with its own unique problem that needs to be resolved—for the 100-minute film to do justice to.

Director: Garth Jennings
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane
Storyline: The owner of a washed-up theatre tries to revive it by holding a singing competition

Had Sing been more focussed on a few, I could have cared more for the resolutions of all the conflicts.  For instance, the scene towards the end that has Rosita’s husband running to the stage to kiss her. This is big, coming from a man who has not paid any attention to her for a long time now. In fact, when Rosita has some outside business to attend to once, she arranges a series of contraptions in the house to make sure they automatically brush, bathe and provide food to her 25 children, and as the husband leaves, remind him about the key he forgets about every day. The scene is naturally treated lightheartedly, but it’s almost tragic how none of the 26 people in the house notice her absence. Rosita’s little story would have been more affecting, had it not been diluted by being amidst a dozen other stories. In its present form, Sing may work more for those looking for a few songs to sing along to and have some fun than for those looking for a story to be invested in. To be fair though, the film’s title does make it clear who it caters to.

This review was written for The New Indian Express. All copyrights belong to the organisation. Do link to this page if you’d like to share this review.


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