James Jay Edwards

Sing 2 Keeps the Anthropomorphic Fun Going

(Sing 2, courtesy Illumination Entertainment and UniversalPictures)

James Jay Edwards reviews Sing 2, an animated musical comedy film written and directed by Garth Jennings, a sequel to the 2016 film Sing. (Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

 

What could be better than pop songs sung by anthropomorphic cartoon animals? It worked in 2016 in the movie Sing, and now it works in the simply-titled sequel Sing 2.

 

(Sing 2, theatrical release poster, courtesy Illumination Entertainment and UniversalPictures)

Sing 2 sees the protagonist of Sing, an enterprising Koala named Buster Moon (voiced by Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey), wanting to realize his dream of producing an exciting stage musical. He gets a chance to pitch his show to a backer named Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale from Motherless Brooklyn), who agrees to do the show on one condition—that Buster gets aging reclusive rock star Clay Calloway (U2 frontman Bono) to star in it. So, while his friends and cohorts prepare the show, Buster and his porcupine friend Ash (Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson) track down Calloway in hopes of convincing him to join the cast. This task is easier said than done, though.

 

(Sing 2, courtesy Illumination Entertainment and UniversalPictures)

The best way to describe Sing 2 is that it’s charming. Just as he did with Sing, writer/director Garth Jennings (who also made The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) creates a world that is simultaneously fantastical and relatable, and packs it full of humanized animals that are both cute and charismatic. It’s an underdog story, with Buster just wanting to get his show off the ground, and he and his pals are likeable enough for the audience to get behind them, even if his path to make his dream come true was built on a little white lie.

Each of Buster’s pals seem to have their own little side quest as well, from learning some fresh dance moves to getting up the nerve to try a dangerous stage stunt, and the audience roots for them, too. Buster’s theater troupe is an all-for-one kind of an organization, and while the group members don’t always agree with each other, Sing 2 is a cool little lesson in teamwork.

 


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And the music in Sing 2, well, it goes without saying that the music anchors the movie. The soundtrack is packed with pop hits from artists like The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, and Alicia Keys. Of course, most of them are sung by the voice actors behind the characters instead of the original artists, but those voice actors include Taron “Rocketman” Egerton along with pop singers Tori Kelly, Halsey, and Pharrell Williams, so the renditions are tight. And yes, there are four U2 songs (including one brand new one), but Bono’s Calloway only sings one of them (and it’s a duet with Johansson’s Ash).

Make no mistake, Sing 2 is a kids’ movie, but it does have some fun stuff for the parents, too. It opens with the cast rocking through a version of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” set in an Alice in Wonderland-type of a show, and the “picked up the phone, dropped it on the floor” line of the lyrics is intact (although the “pills and thrills and daffodils will kill” line is gone). While there’s nothing too risqué, Sing 2 winks and nods to the adults while it gets the kids singing and dancing.

 

(Sing 2, courtesy Illumination Entertainment and UniversalPictures)

Sing 2 is a fun movie. The story is solid, the animation is slick, and the characters are colorful. It’s a high-energy rock and roll fable that has enough heart and soul to keep itself grounded. Sure, it’s reminiscent of a few of its animated contemporaries (Trolls, anyone?); but hey, it’s a movie about singing animals. What more did you want?

Sing 2 is now playing in theaters.

 

 

Check out the podcast Eye On Horror for more with James Jay Edwards, and also features Jonathan Correia and Jacob Davison.

 

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