Illumination Presents Sing is a children’s cartoon about a theater owner, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala bear who has continually staged plays/musicals that have bombed. The continual failure of each of his performances has put a financial strain on the theater. The Moon Theater was a dream of Walter Moon from a young age after watching a performance by Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders), an operatic goat. Buster’s father, who is by far the best dad role model in the movie, worked every day at his car wash to generate enough money for Buster to buy the theater.
An Overview of Sing
Buster gets the idea that he will hold a local singing competition and award every last cent he has as prize money. The only issue was that Walter’s decrepit assistant Iguana Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings) eye pops out and changes the prize from $1,000 to $100,000. Miss Crawley then prints out a stack of copies and before they can be reviewed, blow out the window and fly to all of the citizens of the town.
The morning after, a line up a mile long was waiting at the Moon Theater. Ranging from every sort of animal, singing style and song you can think of. My children laughed especially hard at “Oh My Gosh, Look at her Butt”. Thankfully, knowing the full lyrics to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back, the song went no further. At the end of the auditions, Walter Moon selects who he believes will be the best and the characters the remainder of the movie focuses on.
The Competitors on Sing
Rosita – A mother pig voiced by Reese Witherspoon who is raising 21 piglets on her own with an almost non-existent father. Rosita has been stuck in a shell with a daily routine that has left her feeling unappreciated and unnoticed. As the movie continues on, Rosita continues to break out of her shell culminating in her final performance with her partner.
Gunter – A flamboyant German pig voiced by Nick Kroll who has all the dance moves of a star. Sing never goes into Gunter’s backstory. Gunter is used as a comedic tool to help Rosita break out of her shell.
Mike – A lounge singer mouse voiced by Seth MacFarlane whose only concern is himself, think Frank Sinatra. A smooth talking mouse, he continually moves in and out of trouble. He will lie, cheat and steal, whatever is necessary to get himself ahead regardless of what it does to others. Towards the end of the movie, he runs into trouble with three bears who Mike owes a debt to after some questionable card games.
Ash – A high school aged rocker porcupine voiced by Scarlett Johansson who was in a two person band with her high school sweetheart. The boyfriend continually puts her down and the singing competition provides an opportunity for her to overcome. She ends up writing her own song, something the boyfriend felt Ash wasn’t able to do. The ability to “break-free” is a continual theme in the movie, the boyfriend ends up with another porcupine, aptly named “Becky”.
Johnny – A young male gorilla voiced by Taron Egerton whose Father wants him to join the family business, robbing banks. Johnny has little interest in this but is moving up the ranks in the gang regardless. Johnny’s final performance is “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John, an ode to breaking free from his Father’s gang. Johnny is a character many men can relate to because of his wanting of acceptance from his father. Especially since he doesn’t want to follow in the family business.
Meena – A timid female elephant voiced by Tori Kelly who has a difficult time performing in front of other people. At her audition, Meena froze and wasn’t able to utter a single word. Meena was able to join the cast as a stagehand moving into a performing role after on of the original winners was injured. Meena got the encouragement to give it a second shot after a quiet performance in the original audition from her grandfather.
The Roles of Dads in Sing
Almost all of the male roles in Sing had some sort of character flaw. There were four Dad roles that were present in the movie.
Buster Moon’s dad, who only has any significant part in flashbacks (never caught if he passed) is by far the best role model for Dads in the entire movie. Buster’s dad worked extremely hard at the family car wash so that Buster would have enough money to be able to purchase the Moon Theater. The sacrifice and hard work Buster’s dad put in was constantly present throughout the movie.
Johnny’s Dad, is the leader of a gang who specializes in robbing high-value shipments. His only concern is having Johnny continue learning the family business and promotes him from lookout to the role of getaway driver. Johnny fails to pick up the gang on his first attempt as the driver and the entire gang gets thrown in jail. When Johnny’s dad sees his son perform, he breaks out of jail to go see it in person.
Rosalita’s husband, who seems to work long hours, pays no attention to his wife nor any of the children. His life involves getting up, having breakfast given to him to getting home from work and falling asleep in front of the television with supper. He was a lackadaisical father/husband and painted the role of dad very poorly. It isn’t until Rosalita broke out of her shell that her husband (and kids) show her any appreciation. A strong female role model paired with a poor male role model.
Meena’s grandfather, who technically doesn’t qualify as a dad, but since Meena’s dad doesn’t make an appearance he will qualify. Meena came home after her failed audition to a crowd of supporters and eventually has to break the news to her family. Her grandfather immediately chimes in and gives Meena the motivation to go try again and not to take no for an answer. Without this male role model, Meena would not have been in the competition.
A final review of Sing
Sing was a very good movie. My children thoroughly enjoyed and the music range was awesome. From newer hits such as Call Me Maybe and Shake it Off to classics such as I’m Still Standing and My Way, the music was enjoyable.
The storyline was easy to follow for children and will provide them encouragement to achieve their dreams. Four of the main characters (including Buster) overcame an identifiable difficulty. Although I do take issues with some of the ways the dads were portrayed, by the end the dads/husbands did begin to appreciate their performer.
I completely recommend bringing your children to see Sing. If you don’t like it, the worst that will happen is that they learn about some great music from an earlier generation.