Energetic entrepreneur koala, Buster Moon (voice of Matthew McConaughey) hasn't had a hit show in his beautiful old theatre for too long, and the bank is threatening to foreclose - so he decides to hold open auditions for all animals in preparation for staging a great singing competition.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Multi talented English writer/director Garth Jennings has made Buster Moon (voice of Matthew McConaughey) his central character, a koala - an Australian icon, and that is fitting because Buster Moon has to display the kind of 'can do' attitude for which Australians are famous. His challenge is to save his beloved theatre - and what better way than with a singing competition offering a big cash prize. All creatures are welcome to audition ... and they do. 'Let's put on a show' is a time honoured device in movies, but that doesn't mean the film is a predictable and tired rehash of its predecessors. Far from it.
Entertainingly weird characters, not least the wondrous lizard-like creation of ancient Miss Crawly (voiced by Jennings himself) who is the odd-ball-eyed assistant to Buster Moon, and Johnny the young gorilla (Taron Egerton) who sings and plays mean piano, crowd the stage for a non-stop cavalcade of laughs, thrills, heart and music. And wow, what music: from Stevie Wonder and Leonard Cohen (yes, Hallelujah) to Paul Anka and Paul McCartney, the music is all pedigree stuff.
The housewife pig Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and her stage partner, the oversized but nimble pig Gunter (Nick Kroll), are hardly done knocking us sideways when along comes the rest of the troupe.
The multi-layered screenplay deals with everything from family and friendship to self belief and determination in the face of disaster. Buster Moon, motivated by his father's memory; Johnny escaping his father's gang of crims for music; Meena (Tori Kelly) the ultra shy and ultra talented elephant teenager urged on by her family ... and spiky haired rock guitarist hedgehog Ash (Scarlett Johansson) who breaks up with her musician boyfriend but goes ahead solo. Just to mention a few ... but let's not forget Jennifer Saunders as retired diva Miss Nana Noodleman, who plays a key cameo.
It's hard to pick out highlights - the whole film is a highlight. The animal characters are recognisably authentic avatars for humans we all recognise, and are rendered with sublime artistry; we catch ourselves forgetting they are animations. It's just wonderful.
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VOICES: Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Leslie Jones, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Nick Offerman, Seth McFarlane, Jennifer Saunders, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz
PRODUCER: Janet healy, Christopher Meledandri
DIRECTOR: Garth Jennings
SCRIPT: Garth Jennings
EDITOR: Gregory Perler
MUSIC: Joby Talbot
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eric Guillon
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2016