Movie review: Many songs for adults and kids to love in animated feature Sing

Koala Buster Moon produces an amateur singing competition in an attempt to save his theatre, drawing all sorts of wannabe singers.
Koala Buster Moon produces an amateur singing competition in an attempt to save his theatre, drawing all sorts of wannabe singers.PHOTO: UIP

Ignore the thin plot and just enjoy animated movie Sing for its many familiar songs belted out by surprisingly good voice talents



108 minutes/Opens tomorrow/3.5/5 stars

The story: Following a string of production flops, koala Buster Moon's (Matthew McConaughey) theatre is on the verge of closing down. He decides to produce an amateur singing competition, which draws all sorts of talents, including gangster gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton), housewife pig Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and con artist mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane).

Like Disney's Zootopia, this animated film from Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, 2010) is set in a world where animals of all species and sizes happily co-exist.

There is no explanation why this is possible, though, unlike in Zootopia, which crafted an entire backstory and used it as a metaphor to comment on racial and class differences.

Sing never attempts to be anywhere near as deep or complex - and that is just fine.

It is so entertaining one doesn't really care that its plot is threadbare and the characters need to be fleshed out a lot more.

Essentially, it is American Idol or The Voice featuring talking pigs, porcupine and gorillas, among other animals.

Doesn't the premise make you smile already?

Much like all those reality television singing contests, Sing's appeal lies not in the drama of the contestants' lives, but in the fact that audiences need only sit back and listen to talented amateur singers belt their hearts out on stage in a string of fun musical covers.

There are plenty of songs to sing along to here - more than 85, to be exact, ranging from more recent hits such as Katy Perry's Firework and Taylor Swift's Shake It Off for tween audiences, to Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Paul Anka's My Way for their parents.

The voice talents are surprisingly good. British actor Egerton, who is best known for playing arrogant spy Eggsy in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), can really sing - witness his goosebump-raising take on Sam Smith's rousing Stay With Me.

Had the film been more visually inventive - such as its depiction of a car wash sequence where a koala and a sheep hilariously use their body fur to rub and wipe windshields - Sing could have been so much more.

As it is, the fluffy movie will likely suffer the same fortune as most singing contest participants - forgettable as soon as the limelight is gone.

• Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'These animals can really sing'. Print Edition | Subscribe