Sing, by Albert W. Vogt III

With the imminent release of Sing 2, my sister recently suggested that I take my nieces to see it.  It is part of the reason she put Sing (2016) on my suggestion list on social media.  I remember previews for the original.  Nothing about it made me think that I must see it.  It is animated and basically a musical.  Well, kind of, anyway.  At any rate, with me reaching a point on my list where there are a few films about which I have trepidations, I figured I might as well get this one out of the way.  I would have gone to the movies with my nieces regardless.  There is not much I would not do for them.  You do such things with them at that age because you love them and because you know they grow up fast.  Such shared experiences are precious.  As for the film, I still cannot say there was anything that I enjoyed.  At least I will have context for what I presume will be the madness of Sing 2?

There are a lot of characters in Sing.  Given this glut, I am not going to talk about every one of them, but I will start with who I supposed is the main one, the koala bear owner of the Moon Theater, Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey).  Before continuing, I suppose I should mention that all the characters are anthropomorphic animals.  Sigh.  So, Buster grew up with his parents taking him to the same establishment.  Seeing his love for that stage in particular, they worked hard at their family car wash to save the money and buy it for their son.  As the proprietor, Buster has a flair for showmanship, but is still struggling financially.  In order to save the Moon from economic ruin, he decides to put on a singing competition.  Unfortunately, his assistant is an elderly iguana with a glass eye named Miss Crawly (voiced by Garth Jennings).  While making the flyers announcing the upcoming contest, her artificial eye pops out and adds a few extra zeroes to the advertised prize money.  This is cash that Buster does not have.  Before he can catch the mistake, the stack of papers get blown out the window and spread all over the city.  The next day, a large crowd of hopefuls eager for a chance at riches appears outside.  It is not until the final candidates are chosen does he realize the mistake.  Undaunted, he pushes forward with the show.  During the competitors’ rehearsals, he schemes of ways of getting the requisite funds.  His most likely source is his best friend, a sheep named Eddie (voiced by John C. Reilly).  Eddie’s family is wealthy, the result of the success of his opera singing grandmother, Nana Noodleman (voiced by Jennifer Saunders).  Buster hopes that Nana will agree to front the money for the show.  She agrees to see a preview, wanting to be convinced first that it is a worthwhile investment.  Buster’s showcase a neat set-up, hand built with a one-time competition entrtant, the elephant Meena (voiced by Tori Kelly).  It involves an all-glass stage filled with water, and synchronized squid that change colors.  It is all brought to naught, though, when Mike (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), a mouse in the mode of Frank Sinatra, is accosted by a gang of bears to whom he owes money.  They follow him into the theater, and in desperation he tells them that the money is in a locked treasure chest sitting on the stage.  When they break it open, it reveals a sum far less than what the contestants were told it contained.  It also causes the glass of the stage to begin cracking, and soon it bursts, flooding the entire theater.  Buster feels defeated, and with Eddie’s help, he goes back to his parents’ business of washing cars.  What changes his mind once more is overhearing Meena singing “Hallelujah.” Even though the bank has repossessed what is left of the theater, he gathers everyone together to put on a show anyway.  Instead of being a contest, it is simply an opportunity for each one to demonstrate their extraordinary musical talents.  An assembly of fans quickly grows, and among them is Nana.  When it is all said and done, she decides to invest in the Moon Theater, and it is rebuilt.  Buster’s new friends all gather for the grand re-opening, a place that is welcoming to all.

When Meena sings “Hallelujah” in Sing, it is the beginning of a miracle.  There are times in our lives that are miraculous, moments that can only be the result of God’s hand guiding events.  Then again, He is always there for the great and the small, so this is not a point upon which I want to dwell.  I doubt the makers of the film thought too much of the divine when they drew up that scene, they probably just find it to be a nice song.  It is one that has been used in other films, for the glorious and the profane.  For this one, it is a nice little moment in a plot that is about as deep as a puddle.  Part of the reason for the barebones story is the fact that there are so many characters.  I chose to focus on Buster for a few reasons.  First of all, it is his career and theater that are most on the line.  Win or lose, the contestants all have lives to which they can return.  Everything Buster has is in the theater.  He even sleeps in his office.  I also focused on him because he is a koala.  Koalas are my favorite animal.  It has been that way since I was six years old.  On my birthday that year, my great-grandmother bought me a stuffed koala, which became my bedtime companion for longer than an adult would care to admit.  I possess one other item from my great-grandmother: her scapular.  It is sort of cloth necklace that some Catholics wear as a further reminder of their commitment to God, though when it was first given to St. Simon Stock in the thirteenth century by Our Lady, it was a whole apron.  You still see this practice with certain religious orders.  I wear my own, a brown one, though my great-grandmother’s is red.  This really has nothing to do with the movie.  It is just a little insight into the reminiscences my brain conjures whenever I see a koala.  All roads lead back to God.

If you want to see Sing, go for it.  I have no objections to the film, despite not enjoying it at all.  I spent most of the time wondering what these animals eat.  You are putting carnivores together with species they would normally hunt and devour, and yet they all seem to get along.  Or do they?  There is a moment when Mike is nearly eaten by one of the bears.  Then again, Isaiah prophesied wolves and lambs lying down together, so perhaps this is a fulfilment of his vision?  I also did not understand why the proportions for everything remain uniform despite the animals being different sizes.  For example, should not Mike buy a mouse-sized car?  These are the silly things I think about when watching a film like this one.

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