Holiday season horror stories are always undoubtedly popular, so among endless new releases out there, may I entertain you with a short yet disturbing tale in that vein. Consider we have here an average adult who has chosen to spend a couple of hours during the holidays watching the latest movie and is looking through the listings to see what is showing at the local multiplex. The combo of William Shakespeare, Joel Coen, Denzel Washington, and Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is mesmerizing, as is the combination of William Shakespeare, Joel Coen, Denzel Washington, and Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” They could be interested in seeing how “The Matrix Resurrections” reboots the property for a new generation, and if their tastes are a little racier, “Red Rocket” could be the perfect fit. There are so many films to dive in, but after a few seconds of idle musing, our unfortunate protagonist is startled back to his awful reality and ends up in one particular rabbit hole that he’d be suffocated with guilt if he doesn’t get this on your table right now – “Lads, may I serve you ‘Sing 2’.”
I’ll be honest with you here, the original 2016 film appeared quite insignificant in my memory, apart from a scene in which Reese Witherspoon’s animated pig sings Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off.” This can mean that either I never watched the original or I did but it managed to slip my recollection and fall into oblivion, save from that one with Taylor. And if it’s the former, there’s no excuse for me being trapped with Window Explorer and enjoying FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. But if it’s the latter, I’m pleased and optimistic that it, too, will disappear from my mind shortly.
A theater-kid koala, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) has an ambitious vision for himself and his troupe of performers – Rosita (Witherspoon) and Gunter (Nick Kroll) the piggies, porcupine rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson)—after saving his local theater through a singing contest that brought together a wide range of characters, each with a dream and an instantly recognizable recent Top 40 hit in their hearts (yeah, I took a brief glimpse at Wikipedia okay?). Even though the audition is a flop, Buster persuades Jimmy the tycoon (Bobby Cannavale) to fund an expensive sci-fi stage musical named “Out of this World” based entirely on his promise to bring iconic rock sensation lion Clay Calloway (Bono… yeah, Bono) out of his 15-year exile.
Since Buster, who has never met Clay, goes off with Ash to attempt to persuade him to sign on, the others face their challenges as the production moves forward. When Rosita refuses to undertake a risky stunt because she is afraid, she is demoted and replaced with Porsha (Halsey), who cannot act but can perform the stunt and, perhaps more crucially, is Jimmy’s daughter. Out of the blue, we have the nostalgia of a “Whiplash” enthusiasm as Johny power struggle with a tyrannical choreographer and ends up learning street dancing from Nooshy (Letitia Wright). Meena’s character needs to kiss someone at one point, something she has never done before, and she has no interest in her pompous counterpart. Eventually, the show’s opening night arrives (with a narrative that resembles “Barbarella”), and everything goes inevitably out of control until the conclusion, in which Clay triumphantly returns to the stage. This causes the film’s audience to burst with applause, as the crowd in the cinema speculates on the machinations necessary to persuade Bono to not only participate in the film but also to contribute a new U2 song to the soundtrack.
In short, “Sing 2” is a scenario if: a mild Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland film and one of those end-of-year Spotify summations that people post to their IG story to let others know they’ve listened to the so-called “indie” Cigarette After Sex a lot in the previous year, had a baby. Although there are several subplots, there is little story driving the operation, and writer/director Garth Jennings appears nonchalant with such minutiae. The stabs at sadness are almost awkwardly forced, and by crafting a scenario in which creative achievement is linked with a glossy presentation, it oddly undercuts its message about the intrinsic power of music at every step.
Instead, Jennings is merely concerned with stuffing as many tracks as possible into the mix, with no other considerations guiding the selection of songs other than that they are well-known. The introduction is the notable proof for this, Prince’s orgiastic enthusiasm was turned into meaningless cartoon pablum, and that’s only the first of many musical sins done here. Halsey’s cover of The Struts’ “Could Have Been Me” is the only one that works. But, given that rocking out is Halsey’s day job, this isn’t surprising.
Many parents will unhesitantly take their children to watch “Sing 2” on the idea that it contains no sex, violence, or strong language and is full of charming anthropomorphic animals based on the thought that there’s nothing traumatizing. In fact, I would argue that the soulless exercise in franchise extension is considerably more detrimental because of the utter sloth on the exhibit. The definition for a good kid-friendly is engaging young viewers’ imaginations and teaching them about the power of storytelling in ways that may last a lifetime, potentially encouraging them to tell their own stories afterward. “Sing 2,” on the other hand, has no purpose other than minus your Life calendar with a couple of hours. If youngsters ever learned a thing from “Sing 2”, it’s to prepare for a future in cinema music licensing – hopefully for better films than this one.
The film is now playing in theaters.