Five years ago, Universal Pictures, in conjunction with Illumination, made up some adorable animals and threw them together in a singing competition. If that wasn't reason enough to go to the movies, the animated creatures were voiced by Award-winning actors such as Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde), Tori Kelly, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), etc. This month the movie we didn't know we needed has made its way to theaters just in time for the Holiday movie rush. Sing 2 takes the group to the next level of fame and they rise to the occasion beautifully.
Moon Theater is thriving after being restored by Buster (McConaughey) and his talented friends. They put on production after production to packed houses and great applause. However, Buster knows they can't stay there forever so he looks to create the next step in their evolution. That plan includes auditioning for Mr. Crystal (Bobby Cannavale; Ant-Man) who owns a hotel and theater in Las Vegas. However, Buster's plan gets sidetracked once Crystal's assistant comes to see their show and deems them too "amateurish" to work for Mr. Crystal. Undeterred, Buster and the gang head to Vegas, sneak their way into an audition, and almost get kicked out until Gunter (Nick Kroll; Adult Beginners) mentions his idea of a show from outer space which Mr. Crystal loves.
This all-star cast returns from the original film with a few well-placed additions including musicians Halsey and U2's frontman, Bono. The former plays Crystal's spoiled daughter who is vocally incredible but can't act and the latter portrays an elder statesman of rock music, Clay Calloway, who hasn't played live or created new music since his wife died years ago. Together they offer their "spin" on several chart-topping hits and U2 performs an original tune called Your Song Saved My Life.
As is to be expected with an Illumination's movie the animation is excellent. Sharp lines throughout the film, minute details incorporated at every turn, and vibrant colors are a trademark of the company, and Sing 2 delivers a solid product. The fur on Mr. Crystal, Clay Calloway, and Buster Moon very deliberately moves and it is obvious that time and care were painstakingly given to each character's design. The set designs for the big show are outstanding and the audience can tell the animators took a lot of time ensuring the sets and costumes for Gunter's Outer Space Musical are practically perfect.
The plot, unfortunately, isn't as good as the first film but that is very common among movie sequels. The original Sing was so widely loved that writer/producer/director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), who also plays the role of Buster's assistant in both movies -the sarcastic Mrs. Crawly- had an incredible task of making Sing 2 bigger and better than the first film. For his endeavors, he has some hits and some misses.
The concept of the musical in space was somewhat funny and enjoyable while the subplots for most of the characters seemed kind of thrown together hastily, which didn't add much depth to most of the story (except for Clay Calloway). Obviously, the singing is amazing with Witherspoon, Johansson, and Egerton holding their own with powerhouses Tori Kelly and Halsey.
As we roll into the big holiday weekend, families with young children will definitely and absolutely should take their kids to see Sing 2. A fun, whimsical, animated follow-up to the original, it will have you and your kids dancing in your seats! And, let's face it, it certainly isn't the worst way to spend a holiday afternoon.