“Let’s go spread a little New Moon Theatre magic!”
Story: Buster Moon and his company of excellent singers are doing well at their theater. But they have visions of bigger and better things. So why not head to
Las Vegas Redshore City and audition for the a show on the strip? Who cares if Buster has to promise that the incredibly popular/reclusive singer Clay Calloway will make an appearance? What’s the entertainment bigwig who runs the show gonna do, kill him? Um…
Genre I’d put it in: Candy Colored Hyperactive Sequels That Somehow Work
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Second film in the Sing series.
Gotta say: A blinding pace with the storytelling, all the flashing colors (every single color), and silly sight gags? Hello children’s film! 2 is of the More = More Better genre of sequels, and yet damn if I didn’t get pulled into it. From the Willy Wonka-esque glory of the theater numbers to the way it made me tear up at the climax of the film (YOU’RE CRYING), 2 might be leaning into the Fast & Furious method of batshit crazy sequels, but it does what it says it’s gonna do, and in terms of getting kiddie butts in seats? It definitely understood the assignment.
But I do have to take a moment to talk about the opening scene of this film. The very first thing you hear? The New Moon Theater troupe is singing Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” – with the panting and “purple banana” included. Opening scene. CHILDREN’S MOVIE. I felt like one of the audience members at the start of Springtime For Hitler. They can’t know, can they? “Oh my God, I think they know exactly what they’re doing. *headdesk*” – me watching the screener, most definitely. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love the songs they used here. Billy Eilish, Taylor Swift, Drake, Eminem, Aerosmith…basically all the songs parents put on so they can get a cute incongruous TikTok of their toddlers bouncing around. Hell, I bop to these songs too, kiddies. I especially loved the bit when a lemur does a gothy, bonkers bit to “Bury a Friend”. I would watch an entire video of that. Please make it, Illumination. Please.
Speaking of bonkers, there’s lots of fun, slapsticky jokes that the kids will absolutely love. But thanks to the gorgeous animation and excellent comedic timing, I found them myself enjoying them as well. So either I’m a kid which is totally possible, or it’s just an all-ages Fun Fest, which is more likely the case. Smash cuts are another way they payoff humorous moments. Sure, 2 does have its moment where it throws just about everything at the screen in the hope that one or two chuckles will hit. But for kids used to TikTok, YouTube, and whatever other quick tidbit social media thing they’re doing nowadays (#HowDoYouDoFellowKids)? They’ll eat this up. And the plus side of throwing so much at the audience? Everyone will end up enjoying a moment or three.
That’s the big issue with 2. There’s so much going on, so many subplots, and too many characters. At an hour and forty-five minutes, it’s a bit too long in some parts, and there are scenes, subplots, and/or musical numbers that could be cut or trimmed way back. I’ve said kids will love this movie, but unless they’re in a theater, I’m not expecting very young ones to sit still through it all. But that last 30 minutes? Boom, right in the feels. I might not forgive all of 2‘s overlong transgressions with that shameless but 100% effective heartstring yank, but I’m not mad either.
#Protip: The old, blind-in-one-eye iguana Miss Crawly is voiced by none other than the director, Garth Jennings. Guess he figured if you want the job done well…and she’s fantastic.