Illumination Entertainment, Opinions

Illumination Entertainment’s ‘SING’: What Did You Think? (WYSK Spoiler Discussion)

Share on Pinterest

WRITER’S NOTE: This year, my WYSK (What You Should Know) series is getting an overhaul. As part of this upgrade, two movies I missed out on (Sing and The LEGO Batman Movie) will be the first installments of what will now be called ‘WYSK Discussion’ articles.

To learn more about the changes to the WYSK formula, click here. The discussion article for The LEGO Batman Movie will arrive shortly.

The last film to close out the 2016 year in animation was Sing, the seventh film from Illumination Entertainment and Garth Jennings’ directorial debut in animation.

To be quite honest, I secretly had high expectations for this movie. With Garth Jennings taking the helm as both director and writer, with no trace of the usual Illumination consortium at the wheel, my hope was that Sing would break away from the Illumination Entertainment ‘formula’ in lieu of a central creative vision that expands the company’s horizons beyond the usual crutches that it constantly relies on.

Did the movie succeed? Only to an extent.

Yes, the film diverges from the telltale ticks and tricks of Illumination’s model, but it does so by embracing one of Hollywood’s more well-tread plot lines: saving the rec center (or in this case, saving the theater). So in that respect, it shares the same story flaw as The Secret Life of PetsWe’ve seen this story before, and the odds are pretty great that we’ve seen it done better.

That’s not to say that the movie was bad (far from it). A solid voice cast, surprisingly well-developed characters, and a smattering of well-executed musical numbers made for an entertaining hour and forty-eight minutes and, more importantly, a welcome addition into the category of ‘good’ Illumination Entertainment films.

So…a bit close, but no cigar. Illumination Entertainment has yet to deliver a film that shows us what else it is capable of, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Now, as will be the custom with these articles, I hand the microphone to our readers. What were your thoughts on Sing? Was the writing strong enough to overcome familiar themes? Were the musical numbers entertaining, tolerable, or downright grating? Were the various plot lines natural and well-developed or was it too much ground to cover in an hour and a half? Any thoughts on that finale performance (slight spoiler: an admittedly fun visual finish set to Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing”).

Sound off below, and remember that this is a SPOILER discussion thread. If you’ve seen the movie, don’t hold back! 

Final warning: there will be SPOILERS beyond this point! Don’t scroll down if you haven’t seen the movie!

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

Share on Pinterest

About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • Manuel Orozco

    It’s about time an article about Sing came up. I saw it two days after Christmas in 3D! Sing is perhaps the best animated film I’ve seen this past year tied with Kung Fu Panda 3 and Kubo and the Two Strings! The music and voice cast surprisingly blended well together. The occasionally touching story was Cats Don’t Dance (happy 20th anniversary) and Happy Feet rolled into one. In the best Illumination tradition, colorful animation surrounded the music sequences. Overall, Sing is the studio’s best original work yet.

  • TripleStrykeLover

    Haven’t seen it, in fact I have no interest, it looks so juvenille. This looks like once again another generic kiddie flick from Illumination.

    • ValkarieandherInventorChief

      Hey man, I’d rather save my money and just watch Cats Don’t Dance again.

      • brandon

        Cats Don’t Dance gets used a lot when comparing Sing to other movies (next to Zootopia). The only elements that movie shares in common with Sing are anthropomorphic animals and a musical component and that’s about it. Sing doesn’t bother with political allegories or undertones like CDD does (or overtones, in the case of Zootopia).

        • ValkarieandherInventorChief

          And I think it’s fine if you enjoyed the movie Brandon, but as for me once I heard call me maybe and it I knew they were trying really hard to reach out to the young people especially with the twerking bunnies that will just never fly with me it would kill even a good movie for me. I keep waiting for illumination to get out of the stage of basically early DreamWorks (pop humor/ songs and LCD humor) and make their Spirit stallion of the Cimarron or Prince of Egypt maybe even Rio of Blue skies as I actually really loved Rio.

          • brandon

            That’s the point I made in article. Yes, I enjoyed Sing, but we are seven movies deep right now and Illumination doesn’t show signs of wanting to step away from their usual bag of tricks. Someday, their luck will run out at the box office. Not today.

          • ValkarieandherInventorChief

            Yep, and you know some people really like that kind of stuff and that’s fine because it needs to exist because there’s all different kinds of people in this world who enjoy all different kinds of things such as I don’t enjoy anime but I can respect it as an art form. But yeah I definitely agree with that statement especially since I recently saw the trailer for Despicable Me 3 and it definitely shows they’re not trying anything new in fact the third movie might be the worst somehow. I do enjoy their animation though as much as I don’t like their scripts or characters they definitely have a unique sense of style I think you wrote about it in one of your articles it’s much more like European especially with the very pronounced noses something we haven’t seen since The Incredibles.

          • Manuel Orozco

            I’m looking forward to DM 3 but I’m not expecting it to be as awesome as the last movie with Gru and family (now including Lucy).

          • Manuel Orozco

            I’m looking forward to their Dr. Seuss remakes of Grinch and Cat in the Hat. As well as Secret Life of Pets 2 and Sing 2.

          • Manuel Orozco

            I love Call Me Maybe

        • Manuel Orozco

          There’s also the optimistic main protagonist.

          • TripleStrykeLover

            Also I heard the story is focusing on every single main character, which really isn’t my concept for a movie

          • Manuel Orozco

            I know it’s kind of crazy to juggle more than one main storyline at once but how they blend together is surprisingly well done. And Mike (Seth McFarlene) being marketed as a possible antagonist was pretty convincing but was not the case in the actual movie.

      • Manuel Orozco

        I liked Cats Don’t Dance but Sing to me is even better.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I wouldn’t be fooled by it’s silliness if I were you.

  • Omg this is so funny I just saw it today with my cousins!! I freaking loved this movie!! So much great music, singers, storylines I just had a ball with this movie!! Personally I think it might be my favorite Illumination movie by all the heart and just great moments it had (and I relate so much to Meena (Tori Kelly) with wanting to share my talent to everyone but being just too scared to actually express it, and plus elephants are my fave animal, but that’s just a coincidence haha!!)
    Yeah it has too much plot going on but to me the plots are just so good that I personally don’t mind, such a fun gem 🙂

  • Marielle

    I didn’t like it at all. The koala was mean to everyone and they only survive because his friend is rich. The musical numbers were short and grating and the storyline were predictable and boring. Watch the trailer and you get the whole picture.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Buster mean? Oh please

  • Marier Villarreal

    I saw this movie on my birthday, and thank God this movie did not use toilet humor!
    I only recall one scene when it was used, but it was not too bad.
    I liked the animation, the characters (though my least favorite is the mouse, but OK), the music, the singing (specially Tori Kelly, she has the most beautiful singing voice of the cast), the message, while repetitive, is done… a bit differently. I can’t bash the delivery of this message because I think that’s what made this kind of story a little bit better than other movies with these clichés. I think you’ll understand it better once you see it from beginning to end.

    The only criticism, is kinda major, and that has to be… how the characters’ backstories are not wrapped up. I know it’s a big cast, you don’t have time to give them a lot of thought, since the movie is about the theater, but… c’mon. I liked these characters, they’re not as boring as I thought they would be (maybe the mouse but… I guess he’s not the kind of character I can love that easily). The backstories, for the most part, were OK for this story, but I like how they’re connected to the main story.

    So, I give this an 8/10.

    • brandon

      Ah! I didn’t think about that until you mentioned it. That is something oddly refreshing about Sing: the humor reaches just a bit higher than most movies its type.

      I think it’s pretty easy to know why most of these characters’ stories aren’t wrapped up in this film, but that’s a discussion for later 😉

      • Manuel Orozco

        There’s always the sequel coming in 2020 and we can see some closure as well as new storylines.

        • brandon

          Quite the chatterbox, aren’t you? Yes, we will talk about that on this website….soon.

          • Manuel Orozco

            Thanks and I can’t help it because I like to share my interest with others here on this thread.

  • I really enjoyed Sing. Sure, it was nowhere near close to something from Pixar or Disney,
    but it was a fun, heartwarming movie with likable characters. BTW, after thinking about it,
    I’ve concluded that Illumination is now basically the new Dreamworks. Their lighthearted
    and somewhat silly films are kinda what DWA (like Shrek & Madagascar) was in the past.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Agreed. Which is why I haven’t been drawn to most of Dreamworks films in recent years except I saw Trolls last night. I haven’t seen the previous two Madagascar films or Penguins, Rise of the Guardians or Home. I rather wait for How to Train Your Dragon 3 and Trolls 2.

  • I was cynical about Pets, but was pleasantly surprised by it. I had hope for Sing, in which
    most people online saw as Zootopia: The Musical, but it was also quite good. In my view,
    both of these films show that Illumination can make good films that aren’t Despicable Me.

  • Rachel Wagner

    I actually enjoyed Sing. I liked that there were a variety of contestants and they had nice heart to them. I particularly liked Rosita. And I love the songs. For recent soundtracks that have autotuned and poor singers it was so refreshing to have a soundtrack of great singers! I’m a music girl so that meant a lot. It is super cliched but I liked it.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I do like a bit of autuning Rachel but I don’t blame you since it can get a little tiring. It was Scarlet Johanson’s voice that surprised me most of all.

  • Jeremiah

    Sing was fine, super entertaining. Pets was fine, super entertaining. Illumination is fine. And has shown no ambitions to be anything else. People love them for it, they’re easy, funny, basic movies. And that’s tiresome, because they get a flood of attention and money. Movies like Moana work far harder and struggle to make as much. Which is how the world is, but there’s something cynical about a company that stays consistently mediocre on purpose to make the most money.

  • Sebastian

    I actually didn’t mind this one, it was actually quite enjoyable.