“You can’t let fear stop you from doing something you love.”
An animated movie set in a city populated by animals. You’d be right for feeling deja vu. Last March Zootopia/Zootropolis won hearts, a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination (click here to read my review). You’d therefore be right in worrying that ‘Sing!’ would be the lesser movie, a forgettable B-Side to a hit A-Side. There you’d be wrong. For ‘Sing!’ stands apart from ‘Zootropolis’, not above or below but apart. Both films possess a huge amount of warmth and tenderness. This one just happens to have a winning soundtrack.
Considering ‘American Idol’ has graced American television for 15 years and we’ve had ‘X Factor in the UK for 13 years, it’s retrospectively rather surprising that an animated tale featuring animals taking part in a singing contest hasn’t occurred before. Possibly over the fear of how wrong it could go. ‘Sing!’ manages to avoid any pitfalls and with just the right blend of cliche to pay tribute as opposed to intimate it’s real-life predecessors.
The soundtrack really helps with that. Both the songs the characters sing and the tunes that accompany them are superbly well chosen. There’s the right blend of new and old, all recognisable and perfectly pitched for it’s audience. Now, as a twenty-something going to see this with a similarly-aged friend as opposed to any children, there’d be a degree of expectation that the soundtrack would only entertain those below the age of ten. Instead it’s more jukebox than kiddie radio, homage as opposed to karaoke. Not a single rendition murders the original and all are exceptionally well chosen to add to the characterisation.
Unlike more recent series of tv talent shows all of the characters we are shown are substance over style; gifted and talented as opposed to easy-on-the-eye-but-not-on-the-ears. The film weaves in and out of each character’s story with a great sense of balance. Each character gets their chance to shine with a well fleshed out story arc. It’s hard to chose a favorite but it might just have to be Johnny (Egerton) the young Cockney gorilla who doesn’t want to follow his gangster father’s path in life. It’s impossible not to root for him and the rest of the ragtag group of misfits.
Far more involving than you may expect it to be ‘Sing!’ tugs at the heartstrings, pulls at the funny bone and gets your foot a-tapping. Full of bounce and energy – the perfect way to delight a dreary Winter’s day.
‘Sing’ opened in UK cinemas on 27th Jan.
Year: 2017 Run time:110 minutes
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer HudsonPeter Serafinowicz, Nick Kroll, Nick Offerman.