SING – the “Let it go” of 2016

Just like Elsa, Queen of Arendale, did 3 years ago, the new animation movie “SING” enchants us with music we will never be able to get out of our heads again. Yes, all those earworms you are desperatly trying to forget, are coming back to life and to screen! But, sarcasm aside: In case you expect any authentic, original songs – SING is the wrong Holiday movie for you. Then, you’re better off with “Frozen” (but don’t blame me if you can’t stop singing “Let it go” around Christmas).

Illumination Entertainment which might be known to you through yellow, little beings called the minions, bring us “SING”: a movie about a koala bear/theatre manager who actually cheats a lot and breaks all possible rules in order to allow him to keep his theatre, and it’s about a bunch of other diverse animals too, who all want to sing and win the big prize money of 100 000, but actually don’t win anything at all, because the koala lied to them. Now this synopsis might sound slightly crazy, but you have to keep in mind that the story plays out in another world where all kinds of animals live like humans, dress up, go out, drive cars (even mice!) or…sing!

The concept of the movie is actually not that bad. And its execution neither. Because “SING” is not just about singing itself, it’s about hearing and really listening to fantastic voices without for once being totally distracted by the singer’s faces and dancing and so on. Yes, of course, you see a gorilla singing, but the fact that you can’t connect the voice to a real face helps you in fact to enjoy the moment and listen to the voice itself. I believe that is something which gives “SING” a certain uniqueness in the realm of musical animation productions.

However, there is a downside to it: How can you focus on the voices if so many storylines disrupt the music every few seconds? While the first part of the movie presents us the multiple protagonists and their backgrounds, it’s only the second part in which the storylines all really play out – and fast. Attention, spoiler ahead in the next sentence: Especially when the show takes finally place, the constant breaks during the different numbers with Johnny’s father breaking out of prison or the bear mafia chasing Mike make it difficult to enjoy the great voices and listen to the songs.

So, all in all, I can say that “SING” is a perfectly good Holiday movie when you’re prepared to hear all the hits you know from the radio, only slightly differently interpreted, and when you don’t expect a musical, but rather a movie with songs. I grade “SING” with “good, but could be better”.