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For parents around the world, there would have to be two questions that come to mind before attending Sing. Do we really need another film about a world inhabited by animals and another film about a singing competition? The answer to both questions was a surprise for this parent and for those who will attend this film with young children: you better believe it!
Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) has been in love with the theater since his father took him to see his first stage production as a child. As an adult, he aspires to and eventually owns the Moon Theater, but even with his eternal optimism and love for this grand old auditorium, he cannot force people to come to his productions and he may have to close the doors. In a final act of desperation and inspiration, the keen koala decides that a singing competition will solve his problems. Skepticism is the reaction from most of his friends, but once the word gets out on the streets about the contest, citizens from all over the city come to audition. After the talent search concludes, the motivated marsupial feels he has the talent to bring in the audience, but now he must figure out how to keep the theater open long enough for his contestants to share their talents with the world.
From the studios that delivered Despicable Me and The Minions into our theaters and our homes comes the latest soundtrack to be on auto-repeat in the minivans around the world. The storyline is familiar, the animation is above average and the songs are all well-known, but this combination manages to raise the roof. Many will think that they have seen or heard this story in Pitch Perfect, but this one is accessible to all members of the family. The singing talents of Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton and Scarlett Johansson are welcome surprises to this musical outing. Their talents support the film, but it was the development of each character’s back story that draws audiences into the film. This mix of these inspirational character stories, relatable personalities and well performed musical numbers makes this an ideal experience for families everywhere.
What added to the viewing experience was the reaction from audiences. A multitude of children ended up dancing in the aisles during the musical numbers. Normally this would be considered irritating and cause a certain amount of judgment of parental skills, but not this time. Unlike Trolls and Moana, this musical excursion caught the hearts of the audience with a fun and entertaining numbers. Illumination Entertainment has managed to tap into the younger set that many of the other animated films of the year. Not only did the children dance, but the humor had the children rolling in their seats with laughter. Another refreshing component of this animated contest was what it was not as much as what it was. Unlike many of the children’s films out in 2016, thankfully it did not mask some hidden political agenda or uncomfortable spiritualism. It was not groundbreaking cinema, but it was a delightful time for families to enjoy together.
What should parents know about Sing? There was very little to object about this singing sensation. It was fun and entertaining for all ages. It provides a refreshing option for families during this holiday season. Thankfully there was limited political correctness and it did not rely on ancient mysticism to push along its story. The key warning would be to appreciate the inspiration from this little singing contest, but to encourage children to have a balanced perspective of life. Show them the way to balance aspiration, hard work and having some fun along the way.