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Garth Jennings
Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly
Writing Credits:
Garth Jennings

In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario's attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists' find that their lives will never be the same.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$35,258,145 on 4,022 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Video Service
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/21/2017

• Three Mini-Movies
• “Making of the Mini-Movies” Featurette
• “The Making of Sing” Featurette
• “Finding the Rhythm” Featurette
• “Character Profiles”
• “The Sing Network”
• “The Best of Gunter”
• Music Videos
• Previews
&bull. DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Sing [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2017)

Ostensibly inspired by TV shows such as American Idol and The Voice, 2016’s Sing delivers an animated tale about a talent show. Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) operates a theater that can’t cover finances, so he needs a way to raise cash.

To make some bucks, Buster decides to hold a singing competition with a grand prize of $1000. However, his assistant Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings) accidentally adds two zeroes, and before Buster realizes it, fliers that tout the $100,000 award hit the streets.

This creates an enormous buzz and attracts a wide array of contestants. We follow the paths of a few performers, with an emphasis on mob boss’s son Johnny (Taron Egerton), stay-at-home mom Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), punk rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson), shy teen Meena (Tori Kelly) and street musician Mike (Seth McFarlane).

One fact omitted from my synopsis: all of these characters are animals. Of course, they’re anthropomorphic critters, so all behave like humans, but the inclusion of various beasties gives Sing a twist.

In truth, the choice to feature animals instead of humans doesn’t serve any organic purpose. The presence of the different creatures means we get a smattering of critter-related gags and whatnot, but the movie never engages the species in an active manner.

This stands in contrast to another 2016 animated film: Zootopia. While that Disney film accounted for different kinds of animals and dealt with potential issues/conflicts, Sing barely accounts for these ideas.

Sure, it throws out the occasional species-based joke. A giraffe contestant gets the boot because koala Buster tires of height-related problems, and when Ash the porcupine gets upset, she shoots quills.

Beyond a few more minor jokes, Sing fails to register as a movie about animals, which begs the question: why not make it about humans instead? If the film doesn’t take much advantage of the creatures and treats the exactly like it would if they were people, why not just make them human?

Because kids like talking animals, I guess. I really can’t come up with a natural, creative reason for Sing to feature animals, and I can’t figure out a rhyme or reason for the species chosen. Why make Ash a porcupine and Rosita a pig and Buster a koala and so on? I have no idea – their species almost never connect to character traits.

Perhaps all of this falls into the “overthinking” category, and I suspect I’d focus less on matters of creative illogic if Sing entertained me more. Alas, the movie offers only minor entertainment, as it tends to seem watered-down and mediocre much of the time.

Part of the issue stems from the extended roster of characters. Some movies can handle an ensemble well, but Sing can’t. It spreads itself too thin and fails to explore any of the roles well, so they remain bland and forgettable for the most part.

Not that some roles don’t show promise. McFarlane doesn’t stretch his talents as the cynical mouse Mike, but he creates more life than the part probably deserves, and McConaughey churns a few laughs out of limp lines as well.

There’s just not much substance on display, though, as the film can’t find many ways to make the characters or scenarios interesting. Again, the manner in which it casts a wide net hurts it, as none of the roles or situations develop well enough to stand out from each other.

Because of this, Sing lacks the emotional/dramatic punch it aspires to possess, and it also doesn’t deliver many laughs. We find the occasional amusing moment, and the product goes down painlessly, but genuine comedy emerges infrequently. Beyond a smattering of chuckles, the stabs at humor mainly fall flat.

That goes for Sing as a whole. I’ve certainly seen less entertaining animated tales, and Sing does just enough to sustain interest, but it feels mediocre and not especially delightful.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Sing appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As I expected, the transfer looked terrific.

Sharpness was fine across the board. Virtually no softness appeared, as the movie delivered satisfying definition. No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, print flaws never manifested themselves.

Sing’s palette offered a general pastel tone, with a minor emphasis on orange and teal. The colors showed a good sense of vividness and worked well. Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots offered nice clarity and smoothness. This became an appealing visual presentation.

With Sing, we get a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this mix offered a reasonably lively soundscape, especially during the musical sequences. Those fleshed out the spectrum in an involving way and gave us nice chances for the performances.

Effects used the various channels in a less active manner, but they still contributed a fair amount of activity. Some car-based scenes zoomed around the room well, and a smattering of additional moments brought out good involvement. One “disaster” scene kicked to life very well. Though these never became dazzling, they added breadth.

Audio quality seemed pleasing. Speech always sounded distinctive and concise, while music was peppy and rich. Effects offered solid reproduction, with clean highs and deep lows. I liked this mix and thought it gave the movie life.

As we shift to extras, we find three mini-movies. These include Gunter Babysits (3:47), Love At First Sight (4:18) and Eddie’s Life Coach (4:16).

In Babysits, Gunter watches Rosita’s 25 piglets, while during Sight, Ms. Crawly tries to meet a mate online. Finally, Coach lights a spark under Buster’s pal to get out of his parents’ house.

Babysits seems predictable and limp, and parts of Sight follow suit. However, Sight comes with a surprisingly sweet conclusion that makes it winning, and Coach gives us more of the always-entertaining John C. Reilly, so it works well.

A featurette tells us about the Making of the Mini-Movies. It runs five minutes, 56 seconds and offers comments from Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri, directors Scott Mosier, Guy-Laurent Homsy, Eric Favela, Adrien Borzakian, Benjamin Le Ster, and Matt Nealon.

With less than six minutes to cover three shorts, “Making” lacks depth. That said, it gives us a smattering of good details, so it deserves a look.

For a more traditional program, The Making of Sing lasts four minutes, 40 seconds and features Meledandri, writer/director Garth Jennings, and producer Janet Healy. The featurette examines the project’s roots/development, visual and character design and casting. Only minor insights emerge in this short, superficial featurette.

Another piece called Finding the Rhythm: Editing Sing comes next. It lasts two minutes, 44 seconds and provides info from editor Gregory Perler.

He discusses how he works on animated movies and tells us about specific parts of Sing. Despite the brevity of the featurette, Perler gives us a nice array of notes.

Under Character Profiles, we get glimpses of six characters and their respective actors. In this 12-minute, 25-second compilation, we cover Matthew McConaughey/Buster Moon, Reese Witherspoon/Rosita, Tori Kelly/Meena, Taron Egerton/Johnny, Nick Kroll/Gunter and Garth Jennings/Miss Crawly.

Each actor discusses his/her role – and that’s about it. Jennings throws in some fun notes, but otherwise, we learn next to nothing in these forgettable promo pieces.

The disc provides a few music videos. We find “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”, “Faith”, and “Set It All Free”. While Tori Kelly’s reading of Stevie Wonder’s “Worry” offers a perfectly competent cover – respectful and well-rendered – it makes for a less than scintillating video.

Kelly simply dances around a large room and gestures in ways that “paint” the walls with movie characters. Watching Kelly romp isn’t a terrible fate given her attractiveness, but it’s still a pretty dull video.

The real Stevie appears for “Faith”, collaboration with Ariana Grande. It’s a perky and likeable little song saddled with another fairly bland lip-synch video.

A second clip for “Faith” offers a “lyric video”. This takes movie clips matched to the music and – unsurprisingly – adds lyrics. A second “lyric video” for “Set It All Free” from Scarlett Johansson follows the same path. Both seem forgettable.

We can also see Making a Music Video with Tori Kelly. It goes for two minutes. 52 seconds and features Kelly, director Alan Bibby and choreographer Denna Thomsen. This offers a couple of minor insights but that’s it.

Sing & Dance! runs six minutes, 51 seconds. It brings back “Faith” for a tutorial from dancer/choreographer Aakomon Jones, and dancers Amy Allen and Codie L. Wiggins. We see dances they created for “Faith” and learn how to do them. This does nothing for me but may entertain others.

With The Sing Network, five short clips appear. We see “Gunter’s Dance Studio (1:22), “The Moon Theater” (0:43), “Rosita’s Babysitting Gizmo” (1:03), “Miss Crawly’s Matchmaking Service” (0:55) and “In the News” (9:09).

The first four offer fake advertisements for businesses related to movie characters/situations; they’re mildly fun. “News” breaks into segments that offer “E! Channel”-style looks at seven characters. These also add some entertainment.

Lastly, The Best of Gunter occupies one minute, three seconds. It shows a compilation of snippets with the film’s Teutonic swine. Meh.

The disc opens with ads for Despicable Me 3, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Trolls, The Voice, and All I Want For Christmas Is You. No trailer for Sing appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Sing. This offers the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Though moderately enjoyable, Sing never threatens to present an especially involving or dynamic animated tale. It offers just enough wit and charm to maintain the viewer’s attention, but it feels pretty average. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with good audio and a decent package of bonus materials. Sing winds up as passable entertainment without particular spark involved.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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