2016-12-21

Sing

by Yo Snyder

When I first saw the previews for Sing, my first thought was, “Why would anyone pay money to see an animated singing contest when they can see real singing contests on TV for free?” I presumed there was more to it than that, and to a certain degree, there is. Sing is what The Voice would be if it had cute animals for contestants, each of which having a much more involved backstory. However, just because there is more backstory for the contestants here, that doesn’t mean that the idea of a singing competition with cute animals is an idea with enough substance to make an entire movie out of it. This feels like one of those ideas which, like the Minion movie, would have made for a fantastic animated short, but feels stretched thin for a full-length feature. Oh, it’s enjoyable enough in its own innocuous, forgettable way, but ultimately, Sing fails to dazzle.

The big surprise for me was, despite being under two hours, this movie felt way longer than that. The story is pretty thin to begin with, so why they felt they needed to make this movie more than 90 minutes long is a mystery to me. It definitely drags in the middle as it stretches out its thin story over the maximum time possible. The other surprise is that, despite being far too long, it short changes many of the plots it’s trying to string together. There are at least six major plot threads weaving through this story, which is at least two too many. Only one of them really reaches any sort of satisfying conclusion, while the others are hurriedly resolved. Perhaps the bigger mistake isn’t so much that there are too many plotlines to follow, as most of them really aren’t all that interesting. Maybe if they had been developed with a bit more depth they would have felt worth investing in, but as it is, they’re pretty thin and really only feel like padding to help the movie reach the proper feature length.

Finally, I’m not even entirely sure what the point of this story was. It’s hard to say any of the characters changed significantly (maybe they have, but as I said, most of the story’s resolutions comes fairly quickly and doesn’t show us all that much) after going on this journey. Now I’m not saying that every animated movie needs to have some lofty moral for the kids to ponder on their way home, but this story felt particularly aimless aside from getting catchy popular songs on the screen to be sung by cute animals. I guess there’s some encouragement in here not to let life’s ups and downs keep one from reach for one’s dreams. It’s easy to get discouraged when life becomes so unpredictable. It’s easy to give up trying to reach for one’s desires and to just let the current of circumstances sweep us away. If we want to avoid that, we need to have fixed point, a solid foundation, an anchor of some sort that will keep us from being swept along by the tide of circumstance and an unpredictable world. Hebrews chapter six tells how the hope that God has provided to us through Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate every year at Christmas, provides that “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” that we so desperately need. Life can get stormy, things won’t always go the way we want, but when we’re anchored to God through Jesus, we can be sure that we won’t just get tossed about in the storms of life, but rather, we will reach a safe harbor.

Sing is one of those movies that’s fun and enjoyable in the moment, but pretty much as soon as you walk out of the theater, you won’t be thinking about it anymore. If anything, you’ll have one its songs stuck in your head, which seems like the ultimate purpose of this movie: to introduce kids to current popular music (because Taylor Swift always needs more fans). Sing boasts an excellent all-star voice cast, some fun moments, and some enjoyable music, but ultimately it feels like an underdeveloped idea that would have been best left for an animated short.

Score: 4 of 7 – Sing is an inoffensive, but needlessly long and involved family film with some fun moments, catchy music, forgettable characters, and pointless plot.