- Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton
- Director: Garth Jennings
- Format: 4K
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Rated: PG
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: March 21, 2017
- Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018
After the success of Zootopia, I am not surprised to see a sudden increase in animal-based animation, specifically ones in which they act just like humans. In fact, though there are many jokes about the characteristics of certain animals (Rosita the pig is a mother to a litter of 25 piglets, Johnny the gorilla comes from a family of thugs) or played against expectations (Mike the mouse is confidently arrogant despite his size), this film could easily have been done with human characters. This is where the fun of animation comes into play, imagining a world where animals act like humans just like Zootopia did with a buddy cop narrative. Where Sing differs is with the musical element, essentially playing out like an animated animal film version of “The Voice.”
Just as is the case with the reality television series, Sing places just as much importance on the sentimental personal stories behind the music as they do the performances. While there is an overarching plot involving a rundown theater which is run by a failing producer/koala named Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), the film thrives more in the sub-plots dealing with the family life of each contestant. The one way that this film varies greatly from “The Voice” is the way that it rushes through the audition portion, scrolling through a number of hit songs so fast that one can only assume that they did not have the rights to play more than a few seconds of each.
Along with Rosita (Reece Witherspoon) struggling to pursue her personal dreams while remaining the household glue for her husband and numerous piglets, Johnny (Taron Egerton) fighting to express himself artistically rather than being forced into a life of crime, and Mike (Seth MacFarlane) learning some humility, there are numerous other animal performers who grow through the experience in a singing competition that is meant to save Buster Moon’s failing theater. In a storyline slightly too similar to Rosita’s feminist struggles, Ash (Scarlett Johansson) must put her own dreams ahead of her controlling slacker boyfriend when she is accepted in the competition separate from him. Perhaps the most touching of the sub-plots involves a shy elephant named Meena (Tori Kelly) whose stage fright prevents her from auditioning despite a talent that may exceed the rest. The emotional impact of these storylines is nearly enough to ignore some of slightly off-putting racial stereotyping applied to supporting characters.
Despite a good-natured narrative and plenty of toe-tapping music, Sing still feels somewhat like a minor effort from Illumination Entertainment. There isn’t much in the screenplay itself that stands out, and while the music is often catchy, it never impresses as a film centered around it probably should. And despite being given the best treatment with a 4K Ultra HD release, the animation in Sing often feels less than cutting edge. Sure, it still looks better than standard definition, as is the case with nearly any animated film, but there were moments that I couldn’t help but feel that the impressive format was wasted on a slightly uninspired film. With that being said, the immersive multi-dimensional audio is utilized with the music-heavy narrative.
The 4K package also comes with a Digital HD copy, and a Blu-ray disc which also holds the film’s special features. The highlight of these is three new mini movies with the characters from the movie, though there are also character profiles, a collection of the best moments from a memorable comedic supporting character, an editing featurette, and a music video from star Tori Kelly. Along with the three new mini-movies, there is a making-of featurette dedicated exclusively to these special features, as well as one for the music video by Kelly. The film itself also has a brief making-of featurette, though it feels less in-depth than the featurettes made for the special features. There is also an additional music video for the song “Faith,” which is also one of two songs in the film given sing-a-long treatment. There is also a dance-a-long feature, which teaches dance moves to this song.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Special Features: 8/10