2021 AFI Festival Review: Sing 2 is the best animated movie of the year

2021 AFI Festival Review: Sing 2 is the best animated movie of the year

Written and Directed by Garth Jennings
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Reese Witherspoon, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Halsey, Pharrell Williams, Bono
Plot: Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.

I was a fan of the original Sing. I love a good little musical touch added to the animated world and they did a great job of blending some new music with the old. I, like anyone else, am always fearful of the drop-off between sequels, but I felt strongly about the possibility of the sequel at least being good.

One big issue in animated movies is finding stakes high enough that the payoff matters and that’s where Sing 2 thrives. Buster (Matthew McConaughey) is tired of playing at the home theater and wants to bring the show to the bright lights, but his big dreams always come with obstacles that even he has a hard time overcoming.

Buster sneaks his team into the building where head honcho Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) hosts auditions to find his next big talent. There is an America’s Got Talent-like montage here that had me ROLLING!!! It is a transition of aspiring artists giving their turns to the likes of Billie Eilish to Taylor Swift to Eminem, and every single one getting rejected within a matter of moments by Mr. Crystal. Next, as Buster falls victim to the rejection, he makes an elaborate plan filled with lies that he would bring Clay Colloway (Bono) out of retirement to make this elaborated unstoppable show.

Garth Jennings did a great job of setting up the entire story within the first thirty minutes of the film while introducing us to several new characters we would come to love or hate along the way.

Speaking of the new characters, I loved the additions here. Bono was brilliant within the role of Clay Calloway. He added that nostalgic like rockstar feel that was needed. Garth’s writing of this character is so well done that when we are at the heart of the film, there is a moment that I promise everyone will be grasping for the tissues.

Another critical addition was the father/son duo of Jimmy and Porsha Crystal, played by Bobby Cannavale and Halsey respectively. Jimmy and Porsha are about as expected because Daddy is the big man in this world and Porsha is the snobby daughter that sticks her nose up to others. I loved the arc for Porsha in the film and Halsey was fantastic in the role.

Of course, I must talk about the music sprinkled in throughout. The movie is one big sing-along that highlights some of the best songs from past and present. I will admit that the score by Joby Talbot infused some real emotion when needed.

The film’s final act is a strong one that had this remarkably big-time atmosphere that theater kids alike will rejoice over. The movie does play as one big crowd-pleasing good time that becomes the rare sequel that supersedes the original film.

The Verdict: A

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