Everyone wants to achieve some degree of success. Whether that translates to a desire for fame and renown or merely the amassing of assets to live comfortably and happily depends on a person’s specific interests and the type of personality they have. What might be enough for one individual may not be for another, and what society sees as commendable depends also on geography and class. A high school star athlete or valedictorian, for instance, may encounter a radically different measurement of what it means to be the best upon departing a small town. Sing 2 shows the true value of community, no matter where it might exist or who might think it’s not good enough all on its own.
Koala Buster Moon is doing very well in Calatonia, and the excitement he feels when a scout sits in his audience is quashed when she tells him that he just doesn’t have what it takes. Determined not to give up, Moon enlists his dependable cast– pigs Rosita and Gunter, porcupine Ash, elephant Meena, and gorilla Johnny – and his loyal assistant, iguana Miss Crawly to travel to Redshore City, where they have one shot to impress the terrifying media magnate, wolf Mr. Crystal, with what they can do. The catch? Crystal is only interested if Moon can deliver the reclusive lion musician Clay Calloway, and he is set on making Moon pay if he embarrasses him.
There’s no need for context for this sequel, which stands alone as an independent story. The relationships between the various animals may have added depth with knowledge of the events of the first film, which was released in 2016. But this film begins from a point where everyone is doing well enough yet seeking a greater and more enduring affirmation of their talent. Moon has done wonderful things for his hometown theater but wants to truly hit it big, and though his friends and cast members are happy, they too want more, eager to be wrapped up in the glory of widespread acclaim and all the perks that come with it.
It’s not difficult to predict the course of this film’s plot, which finds its characters initially entranced by the lavish hotel suites they are put up in and the incredible resources at their disposal to stage the outer space musical that Moon and Gunter are in the process of writing. That they will discover that caring for one another and not compromising their principles matters more than anything else is obvious, as is the fact that Ash, the most enlightened of the cast, will likely be the only one to appeal to Calloway and convince him that being a part of the show will be good for him, not merely helpful to her friends.
The PG rating that Sing 2 received is indicative of its family-friendly nature, as well as its inclusion of several themes that might be moderately frightening to children, like Crystal’s overt threats to Moon’s life. Most of the plot is in good fun and features obstacles like Calloway’s booby-trapped home that results in a frazzled Miss Crawly returning with an apple in her eye socket rather than one of her bulging eyeballs, and Johnny struggling to learn how to dance ahead of his big role in the show. It feels familiar and at the same time full of energy, a welcome trip down a relatable road creatively populated with animals.
The voice cast is terrific, led by Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Scarlett Johansson. Standouts include Taron Egerton as Johnny, Bobby Cannavale as Crystal, Halsey as Crystal’s daughter Porsha, and Bono as Calloway. The mix of existing and original music works well, and one song – Your Song Saved My Life – has made the Oscar shortlist for Best Original Song. While adults may not find this material to be all that substantial and groundbreaking, it serves as a perfectly effective blend of cinematic ingredients for a delightful and joyous viewing experience.
Sing 2 is now playing in theaters.