Sing 2 review – animation sequel has all the gloss but lacks heart and soul

Buster Moon and his troupe aim to make it big in showbiz but even a new character voiced by Bono can’t save this from feeling like a movie generated by an algorithm

Writer-director Garth Jennings has returned with a sequel to the highly successful family animation Sing, about a koala called Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey, a musical theatre impresario with a never-say-die attitude and a cute troupe of talking, singing animals. That was a slick product with a fair bit of charm, but this follow-up has all of the varnish but the actual heart and soul has dwindled to a blandness. It feels like a screensaver, a movie generated by an algorithm, the same algorithm that calculated the likely profit on extending the Sing franchise.

Now Buster and the gang are yearning to make it big in the world’s entertainment capital: a flashy but fictional place called Redshore, like Vegas with a dash of LA. They somehow blag their way into an audition for thuggish media magnate and arctic wolf Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) who lets them put on their sci-fi spectacular in his hotel showroom, as long as it stars his pampered princess of a daughter Porsha (voiced by Halsey). Fast-talking Buster also claims he can tempt out of reclusive retirement a legendary singer and lion called Clay Calloway (voiced by Bono) who slightly tiresomely sings his version of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, without anyone breaking the fact-fiction dividing wall and wondering why this supposed icon is performing a U2 cover instead of his own material.

The movie runs smoothly on rails, like a fairground ride or a Vegas attraction, although the central plot point – Porsha’s turnaround from being a spoilt brat to a decent and loyal member of Buster’s cast – isn’t satisfyingly explained. This is the kind of movie that could be put on to keep young kids happy … though maybe not so happy as they could have been.

• Sing 2 is released on 28 January in cinemas.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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