Reviewed: Sing (Garth Jennings, 2016)

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Director : Garth Jennings

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C.Reily, Taron Egerton, Jennifer Saunders

Studio: Universal / Illumination

It is not surprising to find Illumination’s latest animated production to be directed by Garth Jennings, when considering his background in music videos. What is surprising however, is how Sing is only his third feature length production after two well received films. Although Sing is entertaining, with fuzzy characters and vibrant musical numbers, it feels nothing more than average upon reflection and never manages to reach the lofty heights of the genre’s leading studios. Where Zootopia uses its anthropomorphic characters as a vehicle to carry heavy themes, Sing instead opts to play it for laughs, struggling to add any real depth to proceedings.

With a narrative that carries a lot of lead characters, ranging from a shy elephant to a overworked pig, Sing intersects various perspectives in an attempt to create something that is both varied and vibrant. However, in intersecting so many characters, the film struggles to define the main protagonists from those that support. Everyone is given a motive from which their individual storylines play out, but as the film holds no real lead, Sing becomes confusing in how it is presented. This again ties into the child demographic it is most definitely aimed at, but for older audiences that are used to smarter feeling animation, Sing comes across as a little shallow.  Being full of different perspectives Sing struggles to conclude every storyline appropriately within the proceedings. Instead the film relies on a quick closing sequence to tie up the narratives loose endings, which disappoints in coming across as anticlimactic.

The animation on show is of a good quality, but never manages to reach the standard of the studio’s biggest rivals. Where Sing excels within is its technical quality, the use of bold and vibrant colours in creating a fully realised animal cityscape. The vibrancy of its creation’s allows this production to feel bold, but while other studios utilise their characters to present deep themes of acceptance, Sing instead presents a style over substance characteristic that fails to live up to the industry norm.

Not relying on their most famous creations, Sing is a bold development from the fairly new animation studio, that highlights their desire to branch out into new productions. Instead illumination have created some interesting animal characters, that although fit this film are never memorable. In truth, Sing carries a simple and fun premise that although entertaining is never captivating. 

Plot – 3

Acting – 3

Direction – 3

Retrospect – 2

Overall – 2.5/5

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