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Review: 'Sing 2'

Edited as of Fri 7 Jan 2022 - 04:37
Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (13 votes)

sing2.jpgSing 2 opens with the cast and crew of Moon’s Theater putting on a pop-musical stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is played by the elephant Meena (voiced by Tori Kelly), the Mad Hatter is played by the gorilla Johnny (voiced by Taron Egerton), and the Cheshire Cat is played by a pig named Rosita (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), which seems like a bit of miscasting to me. This performance is particularly important, because in the audience is a talent scout, a saluki dog named Suki (voiced by Chelsea Peretti) who could get them an audition to perform at even bigger venues.

Anyway, she leaves about halfway through the first act.

The theater’s owner and director, the koala Mr. Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), tries to stop her, asking her what she thought of the show. She replies that it’s fine, really good local children’s theater production, but just not what they’re looking for. When Moon implores her to tell him, really honestly, what she thinks, Suki sighs and asks him if he really wants to know.

Because the honest truth, she says, is they’re just not good enough.

The bad reaction from the talent scout sets the plot in motion, as Moon decides that his troupe is good enough, so they all travel to the talking animal world’s equivalent of Las Vegas and finagle an audition with Suki’s boss, the wolf Mr. Crystal (voiced by Bobby Cannavale). They’re rejected, once again, until the pig Gunther (voiced by Nick Kroll) mentions an idea he had for a sort of rock space opera featuring Clay Calloway, a rock star lion who no longer performs (voiced by U2’s Bono). Despite the fact that the pig was basically just spitballing, Moon convinces Crystal this is totally a real thing, and they do in fact have Calloway ready to make a return to performing.

The movie features quite a few characters, but they somehow all get something to do. Gunther and Miss Crawley (Moon's lizard assistant voiced by director Garth Jennings) are mostly just comic relief, but they still have functions within the production. Johnny struggles with learning his dance battle choreography, wallflower Meena struggles with the idea of performing a stage kiss, rocker Ash the porcupine (voiced by Scarlett Johanssen) becomes most in charge of convincing Calloway to leave his retirement, and Rosita finds herself unable to perform a role that requires a jump from great heights. That’s the returning cast from the first movie, with the exception of a mouse played by Seth MacFarlane, who was last seen in the first movie being unaware of a bear sneaking up on him with murderous intent, so I’m just assuming he died horribly offscreen between movies.
porsha.png
The new characters are a breakdancing street busker lynx named Nooshy (voiced by Letitia Wright) who Johnny recruits to better teach him how to dance, and Crystal’s spoiled, manipulative daughter Porsha (voiced by Halsey), who takes advantage of Rosita’s vertigo to take her role. Porsha’s actually a triple threat, being able to sing, dance and possess a character design that easily makes her the franchise’s most popular character on e621. Not the traditional triple threat, however, as it turns out she can’t act. Unfortunately, being daddy’s little girl, firing her or even moving her to a more appropriate role is fraught with danger.

And this is literal danger, as Crystal’s threat to throw Moon off a high balcony if things go bad turns out to be not a metaphor at all. The stakes are a bit high for what is otherwise mostly just an excuse to sing some pop songs. Porsche’s arc is also a bit sloppy. It seems to be her getting out from under the thumb of her cruel father was the idea, but she was never really under it to begin with. Her decision to join the troupe at the end is played as sticking it to her dad, but in reality, it’s a character who does what she wants in spite of other people’s feelings on the matter doing what she wants in spite of another person’s feelings on the matter. That character design, though.

Ultimately, both the movie and the show within a show they put on are just excuses to sing pop songs. Gunther’s play is just about devoid of plot or character, and relies entirely on big, expensive set pieces and a surprise celebrity guest appearance for its entertainment value. In fact, the whole thing is more than a little tacky. This is Moon and company’s dream? Not make it big in their world’s equivalent of Broadway or even Hollywood, but Las Vegas? And Moon is literally willing to risk his life for this?

It feels like there’s an unfortunate metaphor here somewhere.

But, it all comes down to timing, doesn’t it? I went on at length in my review of the original Sing that a celebration of bubblegum pop didn’t feel right a half decade ago. Both movies are perfectly adequate kid’s animated movies, and that’s okay. I mean, the plot of the movie wouldn’t exist if Moon thought this way, but there’s something to be said for knowing what you’re good at and being happy at being that. Everybody in the audiences, real and imaginary, seemed to be having a good time, so what are we all complaining about? But the movie insists that it can and should go to the next level.

If you want my honest opinion on that, however, Sing 2 still just isn’t good enough.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I saw this a couple days ago and basically disagree with every one of your criticisms, especially the one about the 'show within the show' just being an excuse. That part of the film was amazingly written and animated. Somebody who'd had a lot of experience with real stage shows had a major hand in that. Most of what they did could literally be done for real live. Certainly it's plot was no more silly than some RL shows that have done very well (Avenue Q, Starlight Express, and Cats come to mind). I found the movie to be fun, uplifting, and with far more character development than the first film had. It also had more and arguably better music. The first film had to happen for this one to. As much as I liked the first one, the sequel was by far the better film. The one warning I can give is this is a true sequel. They spend zero screen time rehashing anything from the first film and you'd probably have been a little lost at the start not knowing any of the returning characters' back stories if you didn't see the original first (worth the time to watch though). I guess the bottom line is if you liked the first film, you'll probably love this one. If you haven't seen the first film, maybe watch that and decide then knowing this is much better.

Your rating: None

CooperTom also tweeted that he was a fan of it as well. So there does seem to be an audience that would find it enjoyable in the fandom. Haven't seen it myself.

I did see the first one, but I can't remember too many plot details, I do remember the character backgrounds so hopefully that would be enough to get through the film.

Your rating: None

It would be. Just knowing the basic premise of the first one and personalities of the returning characters is enough. I suspect somebody who hadn't seen the first one would be ok, they just wouldn't understand some of the callbacks to the first one. You'll like it I think.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (5 votes)

Movie criticism is best from people with talent in making art themselves, whether it be stage shows or writing. Flayrah should get someone better for this.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

I think this comment is ironic saying that opinions and critique should only come from those that understand what goes on in the background when the comment itself infers that Flayrah 'gets' people as if there is some kind of payroll and that this isn't a volunteer organization that takes review pieces from folks who bother to take the time to write them up.

Your rating: None

Well, clearly opinions vary. I guess they should've thought more about whether it'd play in Peoria (presumably Peoria, Oklahoma in this case, also named after the long-suffering Peoria people)

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

I don't know what it did in Peoria, but it's the first animated feature in over 2 years to break 100 million at the box office (over 200 million at this point). Basically dollars from wallets speak louder than the flapping lips of critics. It's a fun uplifting movie and people are obviously enjoying it.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

So ... people who are too stupid to stay home during an upsurge of a pandemic really like it. Glowing praise.

But, seriously, yes, otherwise completely correct, I thought I was pretty clear that this is my "oh, dear, the tourists will like it" take.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Actually, aside from you apparently everybody I've heard from in the fandom has liked it very much including some who didn't like the first one. If you didn't enjoy it that's fine, but don't be butthurt when your opinion is in a small minority.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Okay, anonymous guy who's been trolling me in a very butthurt fashion about my opinion disagreeing with theirs for the last month, you know what? I really shouldn't have taken the bait.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (5 votes)

You know what, let's start over. Let's talk about the movie. What did you like about it? I mean, your only defense of the movie is "a lot of people like it", which, if you read my review, I noticed and acknowledged. So I don't really care.

See, you'll notice Crim brought up things he liked or disagreed with. He did say the movie was fun and uplifting, which are kind of vague, but you know what, don't disagree with him there. Just wasn't fun and uplifting enough. I also agree with the point about character arcs; he doesn't really have any examples to back that up, but he's just commenting, that's fine. Porsha's kind of lack of an arc not very cleverly masquerading as an arc got my attention in the review because it stood out (Ash the porcupine kind of gets screwed over too, but there's a lot of characters) ... and also she stood out.

While we're talking about Crim, though, it's not so much that the show is kind of tacky (I liked Mama Mia fine), it's that Moon is willing to die for it. Turning Crystal into a murderer just is the thing that fucks the whole thing up. That's the easy fix. You can even keep that he eventually decides to murder Moon, but like it's so casual. He's like "I'm going to murder you." and everybody's like "Oh, yeah, he's going to murder you." It fucks with Suki's arc, for instance; either he's done this before, so deciding to save Moon, who she doesn't even like, now is out of character, or she's all like "I think he's not bluffing, and I don't want you to be murdered, but I don't want to lose my job with the potential murdering psychopath." which not is not exactly the big come to Jesus moment the movie treats it as. The stakes are too damn high for a movie that's just "fun" and "uplifting". Last movie they weren't brave enough to actually pick a winner of the contest that was the premise of the movie, now they're in a life and death struggle?

There's a middle ground here! Let's find it.

It's less that the Sing movies are bad; they're just safe, you know? I've seen this movie. If it wins the Ursa Major, well, I'm actually okay with that. At least it's, you know, actually fucking furry, and that's not nothing. At least we're at a point where a. at least we can finally point out our own genre in a lineup and b. where I can see a perfectly fine movie of that genre and say "yeah, it's nice, but ... I expected more" and then turn around and actually find more.

I'm sorry, I went off there, what were you complaining about again?

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

Oh, goddammit, I'm not done.

So, I took a shower, you know how that is, total mistake, but I was still thinking about it, anyway...

TIME FOR SOME FILM THEORY!

So, like, is the whole "I'm going to murder you" thing like, G rated #MeToo? Well, I guess PG. It's still murder. That's, like, bad.

Anyway, I guess it's like Harvey Weinstein, but instead of coercing people into sex for, like, roles or whatever, he like throws people out windows. Like it's an open secret in "Not Las Vegas But Also Not A Lame Animal Pun, Like What's The Fucking Point, Just Call It Paws Vegas, Come On Movie", Crystal throws people out of windows, but he'll make you rich and famous, who cares. Like, that explains Suki, like she got thrown out the first story window a couple times, maybe once even the second window, but she wasn't really badly hurt and like, suck it up, he's paying you so much money, you can take a couple times getting thrown out the window for that, you know. You're an important person because of him. And sometimes he can be nice. I mean, dude wouldn't throw his own daughter out a window. Right?

And then she sees him about to throw Moon out the window, and she's like, "Oh, wait, no, this is messed up." and she kind has a realization that this guy is out of control and what he's doing is wrong.

And then there's the scene where he shows the cat his dick, it's an accident, but that happens.

I don't know, that's all I got.

(I thought about using the pig dancing to Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" clip up there at the top but apparently that's not on YouTube yet. There was a lot of Porsha singing "Girl on Fire" for some reason, Google thought that might work instead, I guess, but I prefer the Rob Zombie version, they should've used that, that's another strike against this movie right there.)

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

You're not even good at fan reviews
Hack

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

So this isn't about Sing 2, is it?

I pretty much figured. So, what did I do to hurt your feelings, and what would you like me to do about it?

Your rating: None Average: 1.7 (3 votes)

(Also, technically, the comment you're referring to would be analysis, not a review. Just FYI.)

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

That wasn't the previous anon

Hack

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I enjoyed the story. While similar to the first one, they actually were getting to do a real theater production with a budget to carry it off. The construction of the sets going on during the first part of the movie was pretty cool to see.

I thought they made really good decisions as to which characters from the first film to bring forward. I say that because at no point was I missing any that weren't.

The new characters were really good and had actual personalities, even the secondary ones. They didn't seem throw away. That often doesn't happen.

The voice actors for the new characters were very well chosen. Halsey as Porsha was delightful. More surprising was Bono as Clay Calloway. Holy crap! I suspect he'll have offers to do more of this because he was darn good at it.

The show itself, once it started was amazing. It's as close to a real live stage show as I've seen in any animated feature ever. They animated mechanical set changes for crying out loud.

Obviously, I have to mention the music. It was good, really good. Obviously there was the new song by U2, but Halsey's rendition of 'Could Have Been Me' is the one I most remember.

Yes, the basic story has been done before many times in live films. That said, the way they did it in Sing 2 worked, worked well, and it was an entertaining and enjoyable movie. Considering a lot of the drek in cinema this year. I'd rate it as one of the top 5 at least and that's shared by Raya and the Last Dragon.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Okay, I just 5-starred this, and Id just move on and not even say anything, but I just fat-fingered the "Mark as Spam" on the comment above, and that was not on purpose.

It might have been my own comment, but if it was the other anon, yes, it is temporarily gone, but it will be back.

Sorry about that.

Your rating: None

Considering I had to unfold it just to unmark it, an hour's unavailability is not much to fuss about, but thanks for the mention.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

I have no interest in seeing Sing 2 or in reading any of Crossie's opinions about it. And so the cosmic balance is preserved.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I can assure you that the cosmic balance is not founded on Sing 2, Crossie, nor your choice of given activities for the day.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

I disagree strongly with your middle assertion.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I wanted to like this movie more, because I liked the first Sing and thought it was Illumination's best effort to date. A lot of Illumination movies boil down to "here's a premise, some characters, and now watch a series of loosely connected events unfold with an overhelping of gags that may or may not be funny." Granted, the first Sing had a bit of that going on too, but it at least felt like it had a story to tell. Not a whole lot to tell, but at least story arcs like Johnny's seemed to resonate, and that's a pretty decent accomplishment considering one of the movie's main goals is to desperately sell Universal's music catalog to kids.

Sing 2 basically turned up the music and the spectacle and turned down the writing to the bare minimum of "there is a plot, maybe." None of the returning characters' arcs are as good as the first movie, even simple things like explaining why Ash is really into Calloway is never touched on so there are a lot of missed opportunities to add even a slight layer to characters. I did like most of the new characters. Porsha's vapid but fun. Darius and Alfonso are mostly non-starters; the movie is so overstuffed, they really don't get the opportunity to be anything but vaguely animal-shaped tropes. Jimmy Crystal exists in a weird space where the movie relentlessly vilifies him but he doesn't actually do anything villainous and is actually right most of the time. The attempted murder turn made ZERO sense from a character, plot, and setting standpoint and the movie would have been better without it. I have a feeling they threw it in there because they realized their "villain" was just a grumpy dude with a lot of flaws and the movie comes across as kind of mean-spirited if anyone is sympathetic toward the character after all the crap done to him by end.

Buster Moon is probably the worst part of it, though. He's still a liar and a con artist but in the first movie he had that whole plot about saving the theater and not letting his father's sacrifice go down the drain, so even though he was clearly handling everything in the worst way, he was sympathetic for it. In this movie he just wakes up one day and decides his theater isn't enough and goes to Vegas of all places to chase fame in the theater industry. Why? Because! Why did he feel the need to break into the scary wolf dude's building and lie his ass off about a stage play that he didn't even come up with himself? Buster's desperation made sense in the first movie, but here...? I guess he was always just a compulsive liar then, huh? Am I supposed to feel sympathetic toward Buster when Jimmy Crystal calls him out and makes him shit his pants for essentially defrauding the one person in not-Vegas willing to back his farfetched dream? Are we going to delve into why Buster is so conniving and how he turned his greatest ally into an enemy through no one else's fault but his own? Oh, we're going vilify Jimmy Crystal instead and ignore Buster's misdeeds and any character development that comes from a character grappling with their own flaws? Okay. You can do better than that, Sing 2.

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