Sing is a Musical Mess

One of my biggest and most consistent complaints about these Illumination movies has always been the music. It’s always been lazy and generic, adding little to the movie. It’s a shame; music is such an important cornerstone to film. A good soundtrack can really elevate a story!

Going into Sing, I was pretty anxious. How does a studio that has never excelled at music tackle a musical? The answer is: poorly. Painfully so.

To keep his theater from shutting down, Buster Moon throws a singing competition. But a typo on the flyer accidentally inflates the prize money to a ridiculous sum! This draws in folks from all walks of life, from the struggling mother Rosita to the son of a criminal gang leader, Johnny. Who’s going to win the contest, and how is Buster going to get out of paying up?

Oh yeah, they’re all anthropomorphic animals. That never informs anything in the story; they all may as well just be ordinary humans. But they are cute animals, so… there’s that.

I actually really like the premise of this story. A comedy of errors all about a musical competition? This could have been hilarious! Unfortunately, it’s lack of focus sinks the ship before it can ever leave the harbor.

Sing doesn’t have a proper protagonist. There are plenty of characters, but not one of them really takes the spotlight. That would be fine, if they were all well developed and interesting. Unfortunately, they all boil down to cookie-cutter generic character archetypes with one-note personalities.

It certainly doesn’t help that none of their plotlines ever come together in an interesting or cohesive way. A good story can take all these different plots and tie them together into an interesting and tightly woven knot in which each string feels important. Sing does not do this. It just kinda throws all its string onto the ground and scrambles them up like a little kid ‘shuffling’ cards.

Presentation wise, this movie looks pretty cheap. Which is to be expected from Illumination. This movie is on the same quality as the first Despicable Me. Nothing is improved or added.

Aside from the fact that the characters are all animals. But again: that never does much to add onto the story. They’re just cute animals for the sake of being cute animals. Nothing clever is done with it.

And then there’s the music. You’d think this would be the highlight of the film. It is, after all, a musical. So, what do they do with it?

Generic. Insert. Pop songs. Not a single original song was written for this movie. It’s all licensed music. You’re basically listening to a whole album of poorly sang cover songs.

At least the Lorax tried with its original songs. Oh god, I’m using the Lorax as a positive point?!

Sing is not an enjoyable watch. Not from a writing perspective, neither a visual one, nor a musical one. It’s an unfocused mess that never gives its ideas enough time to reach their true potential.

This could have been a great film. But it fell depressingly short.

Hey, who knows? Maybe they got it right in the sequel.

Ah, who am I kidding?

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