Thursday, December 22, 2016


American Idol, The Voice, whatever, the concept has been flogged a dozen different ways, and it still keeps resonating with a significant audience. So, why not an animated version? With singing animals? If you want to see an elephant, a pig, a mouse and a punk rock porcupine sing Jump, Kiss From A Rose, I'm Still Standing and Pennies From Heaven, more power to you.

That's the visual side; for the companion soundtrack album, you're dealing with voice actors getting to sing, always a risky adventure. I guess Reese Witherspoon doing a high-energy version of Venus is harmless, as Bananarama weren't exactly opera singers in the first place. Seth MacFarlane has been using his lounge-singing style in tons of his projects over his career, so he was a natural to play a mouse with a Sinatra voice, doing My Way. Scarlett Johansson is limited at best, but Tori Kelly makes her acting debut as the elephant, coming to film after being an actual Voice and Idol competitor. Of course, they have her sing Hallelujah, yet another unnecessary version, but accurate for such shows at least.

To flesh out the film, the actual original versions of Under Pressure and Gimme Some Lovin' are used, which are typical soundtrack fillers. At least there's a fine new cut from Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande, Faith, and the final cut here is from real powerhouse singer Jennifer Hudson, who has a small role in the film, doing The Beatles' Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight. It's a killer performance, which leads me to wonder if big-name stars are really needed in such a film, with music such a main part of it.

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