Sing 2 continues the singing and dancing, pop-fueled adventures of anthropomorphized CGI animals. This time around the wacky menagerie tries to bring a reclusive rock star out of retirement to join their sci-fi-inspired stage show. The groovy sequel will have children’s toes tapping and heads bobbing but runs way too long at a mystifying one hour and fifty minutes. The meager plot could easily have been wrapped up in less than ninety minutes. The elaborate musical numbers are entertaining to a point. Then become a brain-numbing filler as the film plods on needlessly.
Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), the koala manager extraordinaire, wants to raise his game. His players have already conquered their small town. Buster sets his sights on the major leagues of Red Shores City, a Las Vegas-esque performers mecca where the big-timers play in dazzling casinos. Moon’s trippy version of Alice in Wonderland does not impress Suki (Chelsea Peretti), the talent scout for the notoriously violent Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale).
Buster Moon refuses to be denied his dream. He packs up Johnny (Taron Egerton), Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), Ash (Scarlett Johansson), Meena (Tori Kelly), Gunther (Nick Kroll), and his wobbly-eyed lizard assistant, Miss Crawly (Garth Jennings), on a bus to Red Shores City. They sneak into an audition with Jimmy Crystal, where Buster promises a magnificent space travel spectacle. Starring the legendary Clay Calloway (Bono), who vanished fifteen years ago after his wife’s tragic death. Jimmy Crystal opens his arena and checkbook to fund the lavish show. But swears he’ll throw Buster off the roof if the koala lies or embarrasses him.
Sing 2 starts off promising with a fusillade of Billboard hits. Prince, The Weeknd, and Elton John are already heard within the first ten minutes. Then the story starts to meander as director/writer Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sing) reaches hard for meaning and depth. The search for Clay Calloway and Buster’s bungling efforts to please Jimmy Crystal becomes tedious. Snappy tunes pop up intermittently to keep the kids from dozing off, but it’s not enough to mitigate the excessive runtime. I also didn’t like the anger and “throw you off the roof” subplot of Jimmy Crystal. The character’s threatening demeanor felt out of place. Smashing a koala to a bloody pulp shouldn’t be an integral part of this film.
The animation team at Illumination deserves credit for their efforts. Sing 2 drips with vibrant colors and textures in every frame. Some scenes look like a bag of Skittles got hit by a grenade. The third act set pieces for the space finale are particularly impressive. The animators do an amazing job with scale in a 3D environment. Rosita and Gunther, in their spacesuits, of course, swing down in a sweeping circle over a wormhole vortex. The A-list voiceover cast and musical rights must have cost a fortune. The big-budget money spent on the CGI is worth every penny on screen.
Sing 2 certainly goes bigger and bolder. The same scope could have been achieved with a much shorter edit. The ending looks fantastic, but it just takes forever to get there with a painfully predictable plot. My patience grew thin until the musical interludes became a blur. Kids will enjoy the hit songs, but adult audiences will struggle mightily. Sing 2 is a production of Illumination. It will premiere exclusively in theaters on December 22nd from Universal Pictures.