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Review: Celebrities cover pop songs in splashy ‘Sing 2’

“Sing 2” is the computer-animated sequel to the 2016 musical comedy featuring celebrity covers of pop songs sung by anthropomorphic animals led by a gung-ho koala bear endearingly voiced by Matthew McConaughey and featuring an ensemble cast of Oscar- and Golden Globe-winners.

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"Sing 2" is the sequel to the 2016 musical comedy and features a bevy of stars covering popular songs in the computer-animated new release playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Long live “piggy power!”

Fans of “Sing” — and the loveable musical act-promoting koala bear named Buster Moon voiced by Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey in the sequel “Sing 2” — will know what I mean.

“Sing 2” is a new release in theaters and the follow-up to the 2016 computer-animated musical comedy produced by Illumination, the movie studio behind the “Despicable Me” franchise.

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“Piggy power” became a catchphrase from the first film and a call to action, too, for the can-do attitude of musical stage performers like Gunter, a German-sounding pig with flights of fancy.

Voiced by Nick Kroll from the raunchy computer-animated comedy “Sausage Party,” Gunter takes center stage in “Sing 2” as the visionary and architect of a splashy Vegas-style show.

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“This holiday season … Buster Moon, and his all-star cast of performers prepare to launch their most dazzling stage extravaganza yet …all in the glittering entertainment capital of the world,” according to the partial synopsis by the movie studio of “Sing 2,” a PG-rated family-friendly hit.

Entertainment mogul and Simon Cowell-like Jimmy Crystal is auditioning acts for his venue in Redshore City, the motion picture’s stand-in for the glitzy, over-the-top real-life Las Vegas.

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A microphone is backlit by lights. Contributed / Israel Palacio via Unsplash.com

The diminutive Moon, whose heart is as big as his dreams, unexpectedly manages to sneak his “all-star cast of performers” into the audition after being derided by a critic working for Crystal.

Gunter impulsively name drops Clay Calloway just before Crystal is about to boot Moon and his crew from the audition. Gunter envisions a sci-fi stage extravaganza with the reclusive star.

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Calloway is just the kind of big-name act Crystal believes will attract paying crowds eager to see a big-name talent like Calloway perform in Crystal’s entertainment venue in Redshore City.

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The problem with Gunter’s idea, however, is that Moon and his friends don’t really know Calloway, but Moon lets Crystal assume they will be able to secure Calloway for their show.

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For reasons that will be revealed later in the two-hour film, Calloway has withdrawn from the limelight and has become a recluse who hasn’t been seen publicly in 15 years.

“What begins as a dream of big-time success becomes an emotional reminder of the power of music to heal even the most broken heart,” according to the synopsis of the Universal Pictures release.


"We cannot let that bully steal our hopes and dreams."

— Buster Moon


Calloway is played by none other than Bono from the supergroup U2 in his animated film debut. And Scarlett Johansson, as a rock-singing, guitar-playing porcupine named Ash, takes it upon herself to provide him with some much-needed counseling.

Ash even performs U2’s “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For” with the group’s frontman in “Sing 2.”

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Meanwhile, the rest of Moon’s musical acts face their own demons and challenges ranging from fear of heights to fear of dancing but facing one’s fears and overcoming them is a part of life.

“We cannot let that bully steal our hopes and dreams,” Moon tells his cast of musical performers, referring to Crystal.

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Recognizable hits and popular songs like Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “Higher Love” by Whitney Houston and many more are brought to life by the animals that populate the world of “Sing 2.”

Rounding out the vocal talent of “Sing 2” are actors Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Nick Offerman and Bobby Cannavale, and real-life musicians like Pharrell Williams and Halsey.

“Sing 2” currently holds a 67% approval rating among critics and a 98% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The RottenTomatoes.com critics consensus reads: “Second verse, same as the first: For audiences that enjoyed the first installment, ‘Sing 2’ should prove another endearing diversion.”

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bdfilmforum .

I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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