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Sing 2 Review

With a questionable premise, ‘Sing 2’ is as hollow as it is excessive

The emotional beats are not fully pushed to their most satisfying end.

I never got to see the first movie so I came into the movie without any attachments or expectations from the movie. I’m guessing most of the character work for these characters was done in the first installment but ‘Sing 2’ doesn’t do much with the characters they already have. While the film feels designed to just entertain and give its audience a good time, I find myself questioning a lot of the messages that are found in this movie for kids.

The film begins with a musical that our characters are performing in – success that they have found obviously after the challenges they must’ve faced in the previous film – and they are quite victorious. They sing a very modern take on Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ in a nod to Alice in Wonderland. Even with their sold-out performances, the show’s manager, Buster Moon, is hoping they’d catch the interest of the talent scout Suki, who is looking for new talent to bring to a Las Vegas composite called Red Shore.

But to their dismay, Suki says that their show is entertaining but not quite what Red Shore is looking for. “You won’t cut it in Red Shore,” she says (and I’m paraphrasing) and she delivers the killing blow: “You’re just not good enough.”

Motivated by the wise words of their rich patroness, Nana Noodleman, to work hard and prove everyone wrong, Buster takes his crew and goes to Red Shore anyway to audition anyway even if they weren’t invited to go.

It’s this premise that gets me nervous. Instead of working hard to make a better show that would impress talent scouts, Buster Moon sneaks into an audition they were not invited to go and then proceeds to make a promise to give a show that includes a reclusive superstar, Clay Calloway, whom they have never met before.

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With a questionable premise, ‘Sing 2’ is as hollow as it is excessive

Buster Moon and his company get the gig despite not having an invite, not having a script, nor having a superstar that they promised to deliver. All his crew’s hopes and dreams are resting on a lie, aside from the fact that everyone seems to be unprepared for the big-time like Suki had said.

And then things get worse – for the crew, yes, that’s the heart of the story – but also for the questionable messages within the film.

Mina, the sweet elephant with the amazing voice, is nervous about kissing her co-star, whom she’s never met. Buster Moon tells her, in a passive-aggressive way, to suck it up. There’s something wrong here. Rosita, a pig who is juggling her performing career and motherhood, is forced to do a dive from a great height when she has had no training or preparation. She’s just expected to do this because it’s the act that they wrote on the fly with no concerns about whether she could do it or if she was okay with it.

With a questionable premise, ‘Sing 2’ is as hollow as it is excessive

And then there’s the gorilla Johnny, who has to do a dance battle and it appears that he has no classical training and is constantly harassed by the master choreographer Klaus Kickenklober, who is mean and ruthless in his training. This bothers me a lot because, while Klaus is unnecessarily mean, it positions him and classical dance training as a bad thing. Later, the proposed solution to this is “going with the flow.” It undermines formal education in the arts. I have nothing against self-trained individuals but to demonize classical training seems very wrong.

The film is filled with problematic storylines like this and handled in such a quick and dismissive way – some successfully while others not quite – which can exacerbate the misconceptions about what it takes to truly make it.

And then, there’s the whole concept of making it. Red Shore looks and feels a lot like Las Vegas. It’s excessive and loud and bright. There’s no subtlety or class to all of this and it really equates success to money and bringing in the audience and it doesn’t quite anchor what it is they are doing – putting on a good show – to anything personal or meaningful. 

If anything, the film really pushes a capitalist agenda by equating success to big and loud and bright and by any means necessary. 

With a questionable premise, ‘Sing 2’ is as hollow as it is excessive

The animation is amazing, though. The textures of the different fur and scales of the various animals are wonderfully executed. And you can’t go wrong with the songs of U2 (Bono does the voice of Clay Calloway). Even with the new arrangements, the songs are stunning. There are even some very spirited numbers like Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ and Ariana Grande’s ‘Break Free’ in a spectacular visual feast.

But at the heart of it all, it’s empty and shallow. The emotional beats are not fully pushed to their most satisfying end. It’s all visual gags – some quite good – and easy wins that don’t really stick because they came without any real deep struggle. 

My Rating:

5 stars - Don't Look Up review




Sing 2 is now showing in cinemas nationwide. Find a cinema near you.

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Sing 2
Adventure, Animation, Comedy
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