Written and Directed by Garth Jennings
Co-Directed by Christophe Lourdelet
Original Score by Joby Talbot
All righty. Now that I got that bit of a downer review out of the way in the early hours of this morning, (“La La Land” — go read the review after you’re finished here. Uh uh! After you’re finished here.) on to more upbeat things. And if you are looking for something up and with a beat, for your kids, for you, for anybody but the curmudgeonly among you who think “animated” equals kiddy fare, “SING” may be just the tonic for which you’re looking. By the way, if you still think animation is only for the kiddos, you might be interested to know that the good folks who brought you the R-rated “Sausage Party” lobbied hard to have it up there with the Best Picture noms at the Oscars. It would be an act of justice to have Eddie Redmayne have to present the Oscar to a sausage fest; take that for “Jupiter Ascending”!
Forget the mega-watt cast — Oscars, Rose d’Or, BAFTAs, Grammys, BETs, Behind The Voice, Annies, Emmys, and that’s just the wins — if that doesn’t appeal to you, but perhaps music does? The soundtrack alone features thirteen covers performed (in great voice) by the actors themselves. If you didn’t know Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson could sing (I’m going to assume you just poo-poo-ed that…), you surely know the incredible Tori Kelly and Jennifer Hudson can and you will be amazed by Taron Egerton’s voice. If that’s not enough for you music buffs, the full digital soundtrack includes twenty-three tracks with such artists as Queen, Señor Coconut & His Orchestra, Cat Stevens, and Gipsy Kings, to name a few. “Faith” is even in the mix but, good as it is, it is a cover and a new arrangement of George Michaels would have been great. Too late now, sadly. It made Jennifer Hudson’s “Golden Slumbers” even more poignant.
Music for every taste — Juggalo’s aside — wall-to-wall. There are the characters and each has a backstory that will appeal to different moviegoers and different ages. There was spontaneous applause after every musical performance; I wish the actors had been there to see it.
I should point out that I saw what almost seemed to be a coherent thought on an IMDb comment board until the other half of the nano-second passed. If someone tries too tell you the use of Silverbacks in the film as the gang is racist say:
“The gang has to be primates because of the physicality involved in the commission of their crimes and subsequent illegal actions. The ability to swing from place to place and enormous strength is essential. The accent, the clothing, the gold-ish jewellery you see and automatically (racistly?) think BLACK PEOPLE are actually portraying a vague criminal type found primarily in the northwest of England. Think “Snatch,” the Crays, “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.” That is the regional accent Egerton, Serafinowicz, and the rest of the gang adopted.”
Back to the review. Characters. In the grand tradition of fiction, the protagonists each have something they have to overcome, whether the goal is to win the singing contest or something they aren’t even aware of yet. (Even my favourite characters that I’m just going to let go by the name “Squid” have their own agenda.) It’s revealed in the trailers that Meena, the young elephant lady, (Tori Kelly) has paralysing stage fright, as does real-life music star Adele. Mike the white mouse? rat? sings “made-man” music and is mixed up with mobsters…hmmm… I know that sounds like a few famous crooners… Ash the porcupine (Johansson) has all the talent and gets none of the credit from her oafish, conceited boyfriend who kicks her to the curbs when she gets chosen for the contest and he does not. Okay, I’m tired of coming up with real people, so go watch the original “A Star Is Born.”
And then there’s Buster Moon, owner of the theatre and GQ’s best-dressed koala of the year, (McConaughey) is every one of us who has tried and tried again to live up to an ideal, to make someone proud and always falling short. Unless you hit the DNA lottery, with a silvery spoon in your mouth, an IQ over 200, and perfect brain chemistry *deep inhale* you’ve been Buster at some point. If you have, I hope you’ve got the stones or brass ovaries or whatever he’s got, because he will not give up no matter how abysmal it all looks.
So, take it away, Buster!
Whoa! Sit back down! There’s some great animation during the principal end credits. But, better than that? The whole audience, all ages, was clapping along to the music and the animation. Not — clap, pause, clap, pause. This was clap, pause, clapaclapaclap, pause, clap, pause, clapaclapaclap! It was wild and exciting!