sequel: “sing 2” (2021)
buster moon (voiced by matthew mcconaughey) is out of luck. the bank is about to foreclose on his father’s theater, his staff says he’s underpaid, and the theater itself is a bit old. Trying to find a way to get things back on track, he decides to have a singing competition to try and get the crowd going.
The original prize is labeled $1,000, but thanks to a mistake by his lizard secretary, Mrs. Crawley (voiced by director Garth Jennings), she comes out that the prize is $100,000. people line up, including some hopefuls with their own stories. Rosita (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), a mother pig of 25 piglets who hopes to sing again after putting her singing career on hold in favor of starting a family. mike (voiced by seth macfarlane) is an egocentric gamer who has a sinatra-like singing voice.
Then there’s Ash (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine rock singer trying to make it big with her boyfriend. Johnny (voiced by Taron Egerton) is a bouncer whose father is a master criminal and wants to try to get out of his shadow. Finally, Meena (voiced by Tori Kelly) is a shy elephant who wants to sing, but she has a bad case of stage fright.
one of the main messages of “sing” is not to let fear stop us from reaching our potential. Meena learns to overcome her fears and, towards the end of the film, Buster reveals that she is afraid of the future and that she doesn’t want to move on anymore. she says in the bible 365 different times, “fear not,” and the scriptures remind us that fear is not of god. Isaiah 35:4 is an interesting example here:
say to those with a fearful heart: “be strong, do not fear! behold, your god will come with vengeance, with god’s reward; he will come and save you.”
On top of that, the film reinforces how money and materialism shouldn’t be a guiding force in what we do for a living. With the exception of Mike, the entire cast of the singing show realizes that there is much more to the competition than the prize. it’s for showing off his talent and for the sheer joy of doing it. buster even says: “it’s not for the award, they’re singing for them”. ecclesiastes talks about this more, in general:
who loves money never has enough; he who loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. this also doesn’t make sense. —ecclesiastes 5:10
After Buster hits a rough spot and his mistake is revealed, his own cast come by to check on him and find out what they can do to help him get back on his feet. meena even bakes him a cake to cheer him up. the very idea of the other characters setting aside their selfish ambitions to help and care for someone else, even if they’re not the nicest person, is a very positive theme that mark 12:31 makes very clear:
The second most important commandment is this: “love your neighbor as you love yourself. these two commands are the most important.”
In addition to that, Eddie (voiced by John C. Reilly) is a true friend of Buster. he willingly puts aside his own personal plans to help buster when he needs it. meanwhile, he’s also not afraid to express honesty to buster’s crazy plans. and in the midst of the madness, he makes time for him and stays by his side. this kind of friend is the kind that ecclesiastes encourages too:
two are better than one, because they have a good performance of their work: if one of them falls, one can help the other to get up. but pity the one who falls and has no one to help him get up. —ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Mature Content: A few light and suggestive jokes make their way into the script, but most of them don’t go very far. A somewhat annoying audition gag has three bunnies twerking to the tune of Nicki Minaj’s highly inappropriate song, “Anaconda.” they rap, “oh my god, look at his butt!” once or twice. A flamboyant pig named Gunter (voiced by Nick Kroll) strips off a tight, shiny bodysuit to reveal a leotard that Rosita says “reveals a lot of skin.” the character is somewhat effeminate, but he’s in the movie just for a laugh. Gunter tries to encourage Rosita to let the music “take control of his body parts”, and then puts on a kind of “cat suit”. It’s hinted that Ash and her boyfriend live together, but it’s never discussed, and we never see them hug or even kiss. we see rosita and her husband kiss once. mike courts a mouse. Buster and Eddie are only seen wearing speedos once or twice to wash cars.
violence: a bit of violence and danger. it is implied that a small animal was stepped on. someone trips and falls on stage. one character is threatened and nearly eaten a couple of times by three intimidating bears. ***spoiler*** the water floods the theater and almost drowns a handful of characters. floods the road and the characters are swept away. the theater itself then collapses to the ground. *** end of spoiler *** ash throws his feathers at unsuspecting audience members and friends. buster is thrown into the street. we see the aftermath of a car accident and almost witness one or two more.
drugs/alcohol: A joke is made when a character sees an asthma inhaler (“what do you smoke with this?”). we see mixed drinks in a club.
language: fortunately, nothing really offensive. “oh my god” and “what the hell?” are used multiple times. insults include “old fart” and a “total super jerk dinkleschplatt”.
other: Buster lies and manipulates (but later confronts the music about his actions). mike plays a handful of times and also cheats. he robs an innocent civilian of his money. he also insults and treats almost everyone in a very bad way. buster is usually very direct with the contestants. Johnny’s dad and his gang pull off two heists. The father (on a prison phone), learning that Johnny is in the singing competition, verbally disowns his own son (although he later changes his tone). the only humorous bathroom joke in the film is that of a character passing gas twice due to nerves.
While we didn’t hear many lyrics, the song list includes artists like lady gaga, katy perry, etc. Some parents may need to talk to their children before they decide to look further. because of the songs they listen to (some of which are not so innocent).
“singing” is an interesting concept (although not very original). features songs from today and yesterday, from the 2010s and 1970s, and everything in between. I thought it was a fun and memorable tease. And, according to executive producer Chris Meledandri, they had to obtain copyright clearance for at least 65 songs. that’s very impressive.
I had a lot of fun with this movie. It was as much fun as I expected it to be, there’s good music (I have the soundtrack) and at the same time there’s a well-developed story to support all the music. most of the main characters are given at least decent development, and nearly all of them are perfectly cast. On top of that, the strong messages about selflessness, the focus on personal talent over materialism, and overcoming fear are very well presented and really effective.
that’s not to say that “singing” is a perfect movie. At times, like the talent shows it emulates like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” it features some (slight) suggestive moments for adults, but is likely to go over kids’ heads. there is bad and inadvisable behavior, but most of it is punished. the negative content, overall, if anything, is only slightly edgier than the latest enlightenment effort, “the secret life of pets”.
Because of some of the songs used, I advise parental discretion for young viewers, as parents may object to some of the playlists. But for older children and parents, “Singing” is one of the funniest movies of the year, with some very admirable themes.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor
see the list of relevant topics: questions and answers.