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Sing 2 – Movie Review

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Sing 2 – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

With his first animated feature Sing, Garth Jennings accomplished the feat of creating an ensemble film that divided the proper time between the many characters and their storylines. His skill at musical numbers, owing to years of experience directing music videos, also played a role in the joy exhibited by that film. For the sequel, Jennings uses these talented animals to explore deeper themes about depression and self-worth. It’s a daring choice that pays off with the movie also serving as a commentary on the entire entertainment industry. Sing 2 is about celebrating the people behind-the-scenes and showing they have more anxiety than we might assume.

Watching the earlier scenes where Buster Moon the Koala frets about the perception of his shows, it’s easy to view him as a stand-in for Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri. Since his studio burst onto the screen with Despicable Me in 2010, his productions have largely been viewed as children’s fluff with little to no substance beyond that. In Sing 2, Buster watches as critics give his shows similar reviews and a talent scout dismisses them as hardly worthy. This is unfair to both Meledandri and Buster and the film manages to show the genuine upset this causes him. Later, when he starts working for a wolf mogul, Buster is angrily given a series of demands not unlike the way cinephiles get upset at Illumination for not making Pixar films.

The movie is also about the entire process of putting an elaborate production together. There are a number of scenes devoted to developing and writing the script and ironing out the story as well as the important involvement of the crews responsible for building sets and creating costumes. Especially appreciated is that Sing 2 lashes out at abusive types in the industry who believe that being cruel will bring out a performer’s best qualities. The entire movie is a condemnation of bullies of all sorts, which is great to see. Another theme explored is depression and how this can affect even successful artists.

Like the first film, Jennings is able to develop each of the characters. The returning favourites (with the exception of Mike the Sinatra-crooning mouse, who is oddly absent) are allowed moments to shine and develop solid arcs. The new animals also leave an impression, especially the wolf’s excitable teenage daughter and a reclusive lion rock star. The animation has an appropriately colourful quality, with the Las Vegas-like Redshore City being quite the impressive environment. The songs are performed with plenty of gusto by the cast and Jennings’s direction follows suit. One of the highlights of Sing was the song-heavy climax and that remains the same for the sequel.

Watching Sing 2, it’s easy to wonder how the creatives at Illumination are feeling and if they’re doing okay. While their films have been enormous crowd-pleasers, the studio is largely looked down upon by movie snobs. They certainly don’t deserve that condescending attitude as their films are brimming with creativity and spark, especially the Sing movies and the adaptation of The Grinch released in 2018. Illumination is still a relatively young studio with an incredibly bright future ahead. It’s clear the amount of passion the filmmakers and artists put into their work. Buster Moon may be disappointed his shows are seen as just material to babysit children, but it’s clear from what’s on the screen that they are not. Every Buster Moon production and every Illumination Entertainment film is the result of hard-working talents who want to tell a fun and engaging story that will brighten an audience member’s day. That’s absolutely something to be proud of, regardless of what bullies and elitists think.

Stefan Ellison