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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 23, 2017

Sing Movie Review: A Rousing Jukebox Musical With A Great Soundtrack And An Inspiring Feel Good Finale

 ‘SING’ opened during the Christmas season in the U.S. and it’s a huge blockbuster. It aims to please the crowd and succeeds in doing just that with its lovable menagerie of animal characters who sing the latest hits and catchy pop songs in this jukebox musical. The story idea is inspired by the immense popularity of such reality shows as ‘American Idol’, ‘X Factor’ and ‘The Voice’.

A down on his luck koala bear named Buster Moon (voice by Matthew McConaughey) is being hounded by his creditors and his run down theatre is in danger of being closed down and repossessed by the bank. He decides to save it from perdition by staging a singing contest where all sorts of animals join.

Among the contestants is Johnny (voice by Taron Eagerton of “Kingsman: The Secret Service”), a gorilla who is used by his gangster dad as a getaway driver when he and his cohorts rob banks. Then there’s Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a white mouse who’s an aggressive hustler who sings Sinatra songs and plays the saxophone on sidewalks for alms.

Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) is a piggie who is a devoted wife and an adoring mom to 25 little piglets. Ash (Scarlett Johansson) is a porcupine rocker who is crushed when dumped by her less talented boyfriend. Meena (Tori Kelly) is a bashful elephant who has great talent but has a hard time overcoming her stage fright. All of the actors here do their own singing and we’re really impressed most specially with Taron (“Stay with Me”), Tori (“Hallelujah”) and Seth (“My Way”, “Fly Me to the Moon”).

Buster Moon’s plans to capitalize on them ends up in disaster that nearly drowns them all and demolishes his theater’s entire building. But since this is a feel good movie, it’s just a build up to the inspiring and rousing finale that goes for nearly half an hour where all the animals follow their dreams and break loose with their vocal gifts in an inspiring toe-tapping concert full of awesome showstoppers.

There are many good animated movies shown this year, including “Zootopia”, “Moana”, “Finding Dory”, “Trolls” and the little seen “Kubo and the Two Strings”. What sets “Sing” apart is that there are more than 60 songs used throughout the movie, from Irving Berlin and The Beatles to Stevie Wonder and Elton John to Beyonce and Carly Rae Jepsen. Most of them are heard for only a couple of minutes, but still gives the movie a really great soundtrack that should have eaten a big chunk of the budget to pay for all those royalties. And yes, there are some good new compositions, “Faith”, a duet between Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande and “Set It All Free” by Scarlett.

Giving great support is Garth Jennings (one of the movie’s directors) as Miss Crawley, the iguana secretary with one glass eye who makes the mistake of putting $100,000 as the prize for the contest instead of just $1,000. Providing some cute scenes are a singing snail and a girl group of Japanese foxes. Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Saunders also contribute well as Nana Noodleman, a former opera singer who helps rebuild Buster Moon’s theater for the usual “all’s well that ends well" ending.