Like Cabaret on SunnyD, the first Sing movie had a group of animal outsiders building a theatre and finding their voice. It soared to monster box-office success on the back of its can-do attitude, some eye-popping visuals and lots of pop bangers performed by anthropomorphised beasties voiced by A-listers.
This often entertaining sequel offers more of everything – much more – as it transplants the same story beats to a Vegas-like metropolis on a bigger scale and with even more extra visuals. Awaiting ambitious koala Buster Moon (voiced beautifully by Matthew McConaughey) and his furry-oinky-trunky troupe are ruthless wolf casino owners, want-it-all zoomers and a reclusive lion rockstar voiced with a geographically elusive accent by Bono.
So can Buster and co get what they’re looking for? For a while Sing 2 shapes up to be the audaciously nuts animated sequel since Madagascar 3, a kids’ movie which opened with an actual Salvador Dali dream sequence. The opening here is another dream sequel, this time with a Lewis Carroll cheese dream, and there’s real wackadoodle energy to some of the early scenes. One X-Factor-style audition montage is a standout.
The sugar-high ending will delight kids and U2 fans alike
But when the story does settle down in entertainment capital Redshore City, it’s the same old arc: the animals (Adam Buxton and Halsey join Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton and Reese Witherspoon) are once again fighting to get their show on the stage and overcome the doubts from within. We know where it’s leading: getting Bono’s lion rocker on stage and an audience to come and watch.
What Sing 2 does offer is more big musical numbers (‘Bad Guy’ by Billie Eilish backdrops a great visual gag involving a floor polisher), lots of eye-popping animation and a sugar-high ending that will delight kids and U2 fans alike. One word of caution for parents of wee’uns: the lupine villain is a little intense for a U-rated film.
In UK cinemas Fri Jan 28. In theaters in the US, Australia and Hong Kong now.