Film #278: Sing (2016)

directors: Christophe Lourdelet & Garth Jennings
language: English and a bit of Japanese
length: 108 minutes
watched on: 26 March 2017

I caught this movie after work, because I’d heard it was alright and I didn’t want to go to the gym that day.

But I was a bit disappointed by the movie. It’s like a crap version of Zootopia with an unlikable protagonist, predictable plot arc, and singing animals having a go at the latest pop hits.

In terms of setting, it is reminiscent of Zootopia, but is clearly set in a version of San Francisco. I have so many questions about how all the species coexist like they do – we barely see two of the same species in the same shot at any one time – and yet seem to only pair off in heterosexual same-species couples. And for some reason the pig couple has twenty children or something. And they’re clearly trying to fit into a human sized world, viz. the tiny mouse in a regular sized car. It just ends up with a lot of weird side-effects.

The other thing is that all the main characters are anthropomorphic mammals – in fact there are very few non-mammals in the movie, a few establishing shots of fish in water and so on, a lizard supporting character, and little else. I’m so confused – do insects exist in their world? Are they sentient?

The film is also trying to bring together a lot of disparate stories and ideas – the London-accented gangster gorillas on their hijinks bare little resemblance to the rest of the movie, for example – and it doesn’t quite manage to tie it all up. I also got very annoyed at the main protagonist, played by Matthew McConaughey – so much that he did was annoying for me, especially the lying and stealing.

But it was funny enough to amuse me for a couple of hours, and despite all the above I enjoyed watching it… but it was definitely inferior to Zootopia, and the pop music in it will date it badly in a few years. It’s also telling that the only joke that the Japanese cinema audience laughed at was the one directed at them, when the main character tries to speak Japanese and says something offensive. I could put this down to bad subtitling (it’s a perennial problem), but I shouldn’t be so generous. Its comedy is lukewarm and childish.

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