Review: Even the most grumpy can’t deny that Sing is an entertaining crowd pleaser

Creatures great and small pursue glittering dreams of musical stardom in Garth Jennings's colour-sat

Creatures great and small pursue glittering dreams of musical stardom in Garth Jennings's colour-saturated comedy Sing. Picture: Universal - Credit: Archant

Creatures great and small pursue glittering dreams of musical stardom in Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet's colour-saturated comedy.

In Sing, a bunch of animated gorillas, pigs, mice, sheep, giraffes, elephants, bears and porcupines regurgitate the last five decades of popular music as a restless karaoke mixtape. Seems harsh to me but maybe the last five decades of popular music had it coming.

At the start someone says: 'A singing contest! Who wants to see another one of them?'.

But a version of the X Factor where performing animals belt out contemporary pop hits seems primed with satirical possibilities.

Two pigs singing a version of insipid stick princess Taylor Swift's Shake It Off might be a subversive prospect but British writer and director Garth Jennings (Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow) hasn't directed a motion picture for nearly a decade and isn't about to take any risks in his big comeback film.


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Indeed, the narrative follows the Simon Cowell formula very closely – performers are given traumatic back stories to get over, families are brought together, parents are made to feel proud.

And of course one of them sings Hallelujah. As Mr Cohen put it, 'You don't really care for music, do you?' and the film churns through 60s classic and not so classic songs with little consideration, often just throwing out a refrain or line before moving on to something else.

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Illumination Entertainment, responsible for Despicable Me, Minions and The Secret Life Of Pets, is by far the most successful animation studio that isn't a household word. Their success has been built on delivering unadventurous, straightforward entertainment and even my grumpy chops couldn't deny that Sing is an entertaining crowd pleaser, particularly the climactic performance.

The final two minutes, scored to the end of The Beatles Abbey Road, is really lovely.

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