Movie review 'Sing': Ending 2016 on a high note

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SURAJ PRASAD
Published Dec 31, 2016, 2:46 am IST
Updated Dec 31, 2016, 2:53 am IST
So to end the year, you basically have a movie where some animals are being voiced by some popular singers.
A still from the movie Sing
 A still from the movie Sing

Voices of: Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and many others.
Director: Garth Jennings
Rating: 3 stars

So to end the year, you basically have a movie where some animals are being voiced by some popular singers. One has to admit that it is quite a sight to see an India elephant frightened and terrified at first and breaking into a wonderful closing song, voiced by Tori Kelly, she definitely seems impressive. Scarlett Johansson as Ash, the teenage porcupine, is another interesting character; I bet the casting did take a note of Scarlett’s hairstyle and the probable resemblance of the porcupine’s. For me, the best was Matthew McConaughey who voiced the koala, Buster Moon, that guy sure has a never say never spirit.

 

I am aware of the racial criticism levelled against Sing, I am also aware that the story is not very substantial and talking animals are nothing new about animation films. Those aren’t my complaints; I wish the movie was made with an intent to make the audience wonder a little more. Imagine more and express a lot more. The trouble with the mainstream cinema is that it presumes its audience to be really dumb and thus gives it very passive entertainment, layering it with superb visuals and exhilarating sound and overwhelming the viewer with special effects. It does not give the audience an inlet to enter the story.

You might say that is a cute and inspiring film for children, but is it really? What good is inspiration when there isn’t much to imagine in that. However, I would definitely give it to Rosita, the domestic Pig, who really has a massive challenge managing 25 piglets and yet being able to go for rehearsals. But Rosita’s husband, the domestic pig is such a let down, the portrait of the average man, with absolutely nothing to look up to. If you look at it closely, the film commits graver crimes than mere racism.

For instance, how is it fine for a sleepy koala to own and run a theatre but not fine for a giraffe to sing? Just because he has a long neck you cannot deny him a long microphone, he has the right to sing as much as the pig or the tiny mice, who by the way has a lovely palatable voice of Seth MacFarlane. Similarly, the trio of squirrels who are absolutely in sync were not allowed an opportunity to perform either. The worst of the lot were actually the Squids, those gentlemanly creatures with a bow tie, who were poached from the peaceful aquariums and made to work for the show, they even had to work for the credit sequence and god knows if they were ever paid.

Buster Moon’s assistant, the glass eyed green iguana, deserves a special mention though. Where else does one find such loyal colleagues and employees? She is about 200 years old, definitely not giving up on working, and has been at the theatre run by Moon’s family for as long as the theatre has stood, and even after it has fallen, she even helps with water buckets when Buster Moon hits rock bottom and decides to start car washing again like his father. While 2016 has seen a lot of separations, with friendships and relationships falling apart, millions of people leaving their bosses for better pays etc., this is the kind of loyalty one hopes to see and experience.

As a year-end movie, Sing might be a good one if you think that stepping into the New Year is no big deal, it’s the same thing as last year only the digits on the calendar have changed. But if you are like me, who wants to look at things afresh and the New Year holds special significance, then I think you want to see something that helps you make peace with the past and give hope for the future. This one might fall flat on both premises.

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