DreamWorks may not break the ground that Disney does with the CGI work they do, but it still does impress this reviewer with how gorgeous they make the world of Sing. The popping colors of various set pieces are full of that hopeful energy, perfect for an entertaining movie and keeping your eyes in wonder at the fun to be had. Yet, at the same time, there is a "darker" side to things, which are a work of beauty on its own to help paint the mood and add on to the work of the voice actors. As for movement, it is smooth, great transitions, and filled with that same pizazz the first installment did in the dance and singing moments, alongside the natural movements of the characters. The whole design of the world is a great blend of human merging with animal, and the copying of our architecture and it just makes for a wonderful setting.
The Voice Acting:
Sing 2 has acquired quite a cast to bring the group to life, which is always worrisome when it comes to using them to their complete potential. Sing 2 fortunately does an okay job with that and the actors get props for their performances once more. Buster Moon, our loveable koala, has the same hopeful tone McConaughey infused in the last film, adding a bit more stubbornness and focus now that he has been established. Witherspoon feels like a natural again in her role, and nails the performance of the mother and nervous star attempting to go the next level, adding care, charisma, and of course the acting chops she has shown in movies like Home Again. Johansson is the one with a little more diversity than anyone as Ash, who goes a little more into both sides of the spectrum from the Rockstar jamming youth, to an old spirit wise animal, who manages to intelligently keep things together. Yet the winners for my favorite performances are Nick Kroll, Bobby Cannavale, and Garth Jennings. Kroll as Gunter is sensational, he's the energy and ridiculous, peppy pig, with the lines that are the most memorable and they have taken the foundation and elevated him further to be my particularly favorite character. Cannavale plays the wolf, and much like other films where he adds the villain tone, he injects the tone of the antagonist quite well without diving too far down the rabbit hole of evil. He was arrogant and an egomaniac, typical of a businessman with everything, and it fit into the world well, allowing him to bare his teeth more as the movie progressed. I think he nailed the character to the best degree and I certainly give him props for making a good kids' movie villain. As for Jennings, the director as the voice of the female chameleon continues to be another awesome performance in mannerisms, comedy, and heart given the scenes that Ms. Crawly takes on in this film.
Sing took a concept of American Idol with animals, and managed to go deeper into the soul and heart of humans to inspire as it approached the ending. In Sing 2, the story takes another deeper step down that road and manages to do a glorious job of getting you teary eyed/smiling at the wonder to be hold. There are a lot of subplots in this story, using a wide variety of characters as they are forced to balance, analyze, and address the problems they are facing. For this reviewer, they managed to tug some heart strings very well, and once again inspire to do better and open my mind to new possibilities. Sing 2 is certain to hit a lot of the target audience the same way, and depending on the age and makeup of your kid, might just dig deep into them as well and get them to be excited about things to come. It's the quality core component of the family aspect of this film, and I don't think many will be disappointed by the direction they took.
Let's face it, with a title like Sing as your franchise, you know a heavy element is the music that has been purchased/created for this film. Once again Illumination Studios has done a great job of acquiring a diversity of songs to sing in their list, and have integrated both original and covers of the song to help get the earworm going. Unlike several other franchises though, they manage to maximize most of their songs into the plot and give more purpose and meaning to their inclusion then simply just shoving them in the movie. Jennings and his music team really hit their A game for me, finding the right placements of songs in the non-performance moments to help elevate the emotion to new levels, and giving us a great cover to boot. Yet, it's the performance moments that really pizazz and become the hybrid of movie and stage show that was always promised in the original movie. Sing 2 gives us amazing numbers to the unorthodox Sci-Fi Stage show, and is really the crown jewel that climactically finishes this heartwarming tale. I loved the ending so much for many reasons and feel that this will be a lot of audience members' favorite moments when they hit this film. This part is definitely worthy of theater level viewing, and if you got the guts for 3-D, I think it helped to be honest.
It's a kids' film and I get things have to be a bit lighter to not bore the hyper energy kiddos that will be the primary target. However, Sing, Madagascar, and Despicable Me have all proven that you can layer a plot and still be good. Sing 2 started to do this, but I don't think it reached the full potential that it was going for. Outside of predictability, the movie seems sort of lost in which aspects to work through, giving a timetable that makes for rushed moments and impasses that are hurdles a bit too quickly. That level of integration in the first film is only a sliver, perhaps due to focus on the ending, or perhaps due to pandemic cutting into time and budget. Either way, the plot is complete, but without the solid ending may have suffered more given the integration issues.
The Character Usage/Growth:
Sing 2 already had a heavy cast to begin with, but they added more to the mix to try for expansion and it was decent and fun. However, like the plot, the character growth, focus, and abilities are a bit blander than I had hoped given the advertising for this movie. It's a fast paced juggle, going from subplot to subplot in rapid manner and never giving us the time, focus, and energy to really see them work past the fears and limitations plaguing them. Many of the moments are to one scene, or a quick montage that offers little backstory, bonding, and trust that we saw in that first film. Things are again too sewn together in that Playhouse Disney sort of way, and for older audience members like me seeing those moments helps add spectacle to the film. Again, it's not the worst suspense of disbelief, but something more was needed to help spread and balance the stories and songs that I was looking for.
This is one of those major cases where commercials went way too far to give you the movie, as they gave you almost the entire movie. Sing 2's commercials showed way too much, and offered little surprise or twists that this movie could have used super well. I'm guessing that from what I've seen in trailers, you have about 60-65% of the movie already for viewing, with only the stage show offering any incentive to still see it. Sing 2's advertisement aggressiveness may have ruined more of the film than any other aspect, just because I had pieced the entire thing together from the bits and pieces they gave in their 2-3 minute ads for about 10 ads. That is indeed the biggest weakness for me in this film, so if you have avoided the commercials... good job and this will be a moot point.
Sing 2 is a great sequel in terms of entertainment, teaching, design, and spectacle when it comes to animated movies. It has heart, it has energy, and it really builds off the base of the first movie in the goal to give something new, while respecting the traditions. The voice acting is fun, with the new voices finding a welcome home in the big animal city, while the new world is clever in its portrayal of our world. It really is the music and performances that are the selling point though, and for this reviewer the backbone of why you should hit the theater to check this film out. Limitation wise though, I don't think the movie did quite the best work when it came to character and time management, taking a fast track approach and really sidestepping the true potential of the soulful moments the first film did so well. The movie may have been too hopeful in its inclusion of voices and characters and needed another half an hour to reach the same level of quality the first one did. However, the worst part is the aggressive advertisements that have given much of the movie away and if you can avoid this, well then you are in good shape and should be god, but otherwise you know most of the movie from watching those alone. My scores for Sing 2 are:
Movie Overall: 7.0.
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