Monday, June 12, 2017


I wanted to watch a film that would entertain me, that I wouldn't have to think about, that wouldn't matter if I went to sleep. Sing (2016; dirs.. Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet) was the choice. For me it was a film of mindless and unchallenging content. In Sing a pig, mouse, porcupine, gorilla, elephant, and other random animals try out for a singing competition. The master of ceremonies is a koala bear, Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConnaughey. I didn't recognize his voice--I saw his name in the credits. Buster owns the theater in which the competition is to take place, and he hopes it will attract a large enough audience that he can pay off his bills—he’s about to lose the theater.  Sing capitalizes on earlier films that feature an all-animal cast. Examples are the Zanzibar films and Zootopia--a higher-level film that was actually fairly good. It also exploits the popularity of The Voice and America's Got Talent and American Idol on which random anonymous people from the neighborhoods and hinterlands of the United States compete for glory on a television show. Many of their performances are framed with maudlin and dramatic stories of people who climb up from adversity or personal disaster to display their talent and perhaps win a large amount of money and maybe a recording contract.

In Sing, a shy elephant who can barely bring herself to speak to anyone but who has a beautiful voice is encouraged by her family to try out. A mother pig (with 45 piglets and a husband who works so hard that he pays her barely any attention and comes home at night to sleep in his chair) sings to occupy herself, for self-fulfillment, to be happy, and when she sees an advertisement about the competition she auditions and ends up on the show. Other animals have their own stories. Various disasters and pitfalls and comic moments transpire that take up much of the film. I watched Sing, I didn't go to sleep, I was entertained, I laughed a bit, I was faintly moved by the story’s outcome which, unsurprisingly, was predictable. Sing gave me what I wanted.

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