There is a line early on in Garth Jennings’ animated musical Sing 2, where a character is describing a talent scout’s reaction to a show put up by the protagonists: ‘Four smiles, three laughs, and a chuckle…’ This could very easily be used to describe this reviewer’s response to the movie itself. Sing 2 – the sequel to the same director’s 2016 film Sing – is entertaining in parts and annoying in others. Fortunately, the film is packed with many stunning visuals and powerful music. But despite that, it never justifies itself. Did Sing even need a sequel? If it did, it deserved better than this.
Sing 2 opens not far ahead from where the first part ended. Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) is putting up musicals in his small-town theatre and hoping to catch the eye of a big talent scout from Redshore City, the entertainment capital of this world. But after he is denied his shot, Buster convinces his troupe to travel to Redshore City and audition directly in front of the biggest entertainment mogul there- Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale). The rest of the film follows the troupe’s attempt to go out on a grand space opera musical while trying to get reclusive rockstar Clay Calloway (Bono in an extended cameo) to aid them.
Sing 2 gets a lot of things right. The characters are likeable and- more importantly for a kids’ movie- adorable in design. Buster Moon tugs at your heartstrings with his constant efforts to not let go of his dream. Reese Witherspoon as the pig housewife Rosita is easily the best of the lot among the voice actors. The animation is good, too. With the presence of extravagant sets in the film’s musical, the animators had a chance to enthral the audience with spectacular visuals. And they do that. The visuals and the songs definitely keep you engaged, but fall just short of being captivating or awe-inspiring.
The music is the film’s backbone. There are plenty of pop-culture references from songs by Shakira and Adele to Clay Calloway’s music being all Bono and U2 songs. If nothing, you will certainly enjoy Bono performing I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For in a duet with Black Widow herself- Scarlett Johansson, the voice behind a porcupine rock guitarist.
Kids will certainly enjoy the film because the plot is simple. But at times, it does feel it’s too simple. It may seem like trying to over-analyse what is essentially a children’s film, but in the past, children’s films have shown they have the capacity to be engrossing. From Shrek to Finding Nemo, animation films have often crossed the barrier from being just entertaining for kids to appealing to adults as well. This one falters there. The characters’ motivations are quite doubtful at times and you are not convinced by some of the connections and changes of heart.
But Sing 2 does not bore you. It has a simple premise and an almost foregone conclusion but it reaches there in style. The conjunction of good visuals and great music means that even those who aren’t necessarily fans of the first film can enjoy it. And if you aren’t there to review the film, you may even escape the analysis and enjoy it a lot more.
Movie: Sing 2
Director: Garth Jennings
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton, Bobby Cannavale, Tori Kelly, Halsey, Letitia Wright, Bono