We have had a nice, lovely, beautiful two-year break for Illumination. But they're back in full marketing force with the sequel to the unexpected box office giant, 'Sing'. The 2016 surprise hit grossed a whopping US$634 million at the box office on a budget of US$75 million, making it one of the most profitable films of the year. But can the sequel do the same?
After Buster Moon's (Matthew McConaughey, 'The Gentlemen', 'Interstellar') successful singing competition, he has taken the contestants and formed an epic local stage show based on 'Alice in Wonderland'. When talent scout Suki (Chelsea Peretti, TVs 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', 'Game Night') comes to watch the latest performance, she tells Moon that's it too local and will never make it in Redshore City. Now more determined than ever, Buster packs up the show and takes the singers to the big city, where he sits down with media mogul and owner of Crystal Entertainment, Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale, 'Spy', 'Superintelligence'), and demands for him to let them put on a show. Thus 'Out of this World' is born: a showstopping musical extravaganza. This comes with its challenges - Rosita (Reese Witherspoon, 'Wild', 'A Wrinkle in Time') is excited to be the lead, but her fear of heights has her backing away from the spotlight. Johnny (Taron Egerton, 'Rocketman', 'Kingsman: The Secret Service') feels the pressure from his dance instructor. Meena (Tori Kelly) struggles with having to be in love for her role, and Ash (Scarlett Johansson, 'Black Widow', 'Marriage Story') has the hard task of securing her favourite singer, Clay Calloway (Bono). Stakes are high, but will their dreams be enough to make this work? The gang is also joined by new characters Nooshy (Letitia Wright, 'Black Panther', 'Ready Player One'), a lynx who helps Johnny conquer his dance fears, and Porsha (Halsey), Jimmy's daughter who is forced to be in Moon's show.
SWITCH: 'SING 2' TRAILER 2
'Sing 2' is the same as the original. There are no obstacles, and everything is handed to these characters, not earned. Like the first, they want to put on this show, they put on the show, the end. It's just 90 minutes of pop song padding. And with the music choices, they date this film even more, with Shawn Mendes' 'There's Nothing Holding Me Back' (2017), The Weeknd's 'Can't Feel My Face' (2015), Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' (2019), Coldplay's 'A Sky Full of Stars' (2014), Ariana Grande's 'Break Free' (2014) and Alicia Keys' 'Girl on Fire' (2012) - just some of the songs on the soundtrack that instantly age the film. In 2016, many of these songs were "old", but by 2021 standards they are overplayed. The film does have a handful of more nostalgic songs from artists like Elton John, but it's not balanced enough, with too many 2010s pop hits for this to be an all-age appealing jukebox musical.
There are no obstacles, and everything is handed to these characters, not earned. It's just 90 minutes of pop song padding.
Yet again, the studio is relying on the huge names - and this time they have Bono as the huge selling point. Which also leads perfectly into my next point: the marketing for this film is just the third act. There is nothing that wasn't shown from the film's climax, including the poster. I don't care that 'Sing 2' was spoiled in the trailer, but it just shows how little they care, making it clear this is a cash grab film, with big names singing songs as silly animals. I get the appeal, but it's not for me.
'Sing 2' is an inoffensive sequel. It didn't anger me, it simply exists. It doesn't pander to its audience, but it's little more than celebrities doing pop covers to mediocre animation. For better or worse, you can take the family this holiday season, and if your kids like the singing animals, there's no harm in that.