Cert – U, Run-time – 1 hour 50 minutes, Director – Garth Jennings
Musical theatre producer Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) convinces wealthy businessman Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) to put on a show, in three weeks, featuring his hopeful cast, and reclusive former rock star Clay Calloway (Bono).
In my opinion the best joke in 2016’s Sing is perhaps held within the short audition montage. As we cut through a handful of loud, belted out, largely pop-infused, songs we get a brief glimpse of a barbershop quartet of tortoises singing “I love my shoes”. While there isn’t quite anything at this level of snappy silliness within the sequel it does feature Adam Buxton putting on a slightly silly voice. He plays “stupid, fat, old monkey” Klaus Kickenklober. He’s the dance instructor for Taron Egerton’s Johnny. Throwing him straight in at the deep end and declaring any mistakes he makes as soon as they show even the earliest signs of appearing.
Johnny’s preparing for a dance battle sequence in an upcoming big-budget stage musical produced by Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey). A show which is kick-started after a somewhat chance encounter with highly wealthy Redshore City (think Vegas meets New York meets Orlando) figure Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) providing the seeming millions of dollars, a three week deadline and plenty of threats on Moon’s life and career. All under the impression that the performance will see the return of reclusive rock star Clay Calloway (Bono), after fifteen years away from the spotlight. It’s just one of the many issues that Moon has to deal with, amongst the various struggles of his cast that may prevent them from giving a truly authentic performance amongst the towering heights of the sprawling sci-fi sets which have been built.
Out of the returning faces that lead the musical ensemble we perhaps see slightly more of German pig Gunter (Nick Kroll) – who comes up with the whole idea for the ambitious, not entirely thought through, or finished, sci-fi venture – and elderly iguana assistant Miss Crawly (writer-director Garth Jennings – with what seems to be the help of some frequently noticeable voice-changing technology). The pair certainly don’t dominate the piece, but feel slightly more present for mildly amusing comedic moments than last time around, after, mostly highly-energetic Gunter and his rendition of Bad Romance, acted as a key selling point for the original film. In the case of this film the marketing, particularly the trailers, seems to have revolved around the idea of giving away the entire narrative. It’s something that comes into play while watching the film as you feel the more formulaic elements guiding the film to the handful of conclusions for its central characters.
Throughout the film and its many musical segments (there’s a lot on the soundtrack for this film and at times it almost begins to get a bit too much as you only hear short bursts of each track before moving to the next in another scenes) you can generally feel the fairly conventional lines in which it travels down. It feels apparent that this is perhaps one more for the kids than the adults in the audience. That being said, as the film progresses there are certainly moments and beats that help to keep you in place, not just the handful of chuckles, slight cameos and highlights featuring Adam Buxton simply having fun voicing his character that are thrown into the mixture, and over time you find yourself slightly more engaged with the piece as a whole. It picks itself up from being generally fine and watchable and turns out to be something that’s quite good. A rather enjoyable set of moments and strands that combine to make something that, yes, while somewhat predictable and slightly familiar, manages to just about stretch beyond the large amounts of detail shown in the trailers.
While you can feel the more formulaic strands and elements there’s a bit more to Sing 2 than just what the trailers show. It has some chuckles dashed throughout the heavily-soundtracked narrative and overall makes for enjoyable enough, if eventually forgettable, viewing.