If you want an animated movie that teaches all the wrong lessons to kids, Sing will fulfill your desire. The film pulled in more than $600 million worldwide and garnered positive reviews from critics who seemed to miss something very important: Buster Moon is a monster who must be stopped.
Taking place in a discount Zootopia, the film follows Buster Moon, a koala whose theater is failing. To movie tries to deliver a moral about the importance of following your dreams, but it actually presents us with a criminal who defrauds multiple people, endangers dozens of lives, and then gets rewarded in the end.
Buster Moon is a Deadbeat
Sing tries to paint Buster Moon as an underdog struggling against an unforgiving business world, but he’s really just a total deadbeat. He tells us in his opening voiceover that he’s always wanted to succeed in show business and own his own theater. However, his actions indicate that he’s too selfish and lazy to succeed.
Buster is the type of asshole who goes into a fancy diner and brings his own sandwiches. I’m not exaggerating – he literally does that, then acts indignant when they throw him out. He runs flop after flop but refuses to adjust his business model because of some vague bullshit about following his dreams.
When the electric company shuts off his theater for failure to pay his bills, he doesn’t work something out with them. Instead, he steals power from the building next door. When his sheer incompetence misleads people to believe he’s offering 100 times the prize money he actually has on hand, he doesn’t correct the misconception. Instead, he commits fraud while trying to con an old actress out of her money.
Basically, Buster Moon is the worst kind of shiftless dreamer – the one who believes that because he has a dream, the world is entitled to just give him what he wants. He spouts empty platitudes, but he refuses to earn his success. When external forces do cause him to act, he does so in a dangerously stupid way that nearly kills everybody.
Public Enemy Number One
Things look darkest for Buster when he tries to woo the former diva Nana Noodleman into putting up the prize money for his event. He arranges a trial run of the contest that falls apart in a cataclysmic disaster that nearly kills everybody and utterly destroys the theater.
Am I being unfair in my assessment of the situation? Maybe. After all, the disaster only happens because the fast-talking mouse Mike winds up getting in deep with some mobsters, who attack him at the theater and cause a glass wall holding thousands of gallons of water to break.
But why are the mobsters there? To catch Mike. Why is Mike there? Because Buster promised a prize of $100,000. I’m not saying Buster should be held accountable for the actions of idiots and criminals (except when he’s the idiot and criminal), but he attracted that element through his own shady dealings.
Moreover, there’s no way a deadbeat like Buster acquired the licenses necessary for such a massive renovation. He definitely didn’t have anybody assess the safety of his project. With such carelessness, it was only a matter of time before disaster struck. Luckily, it happened when there were only a handful of people in the theater.
Everybody is an Enabler
The last act of the movie begins with Buster at what is supposed to be his lowest point: earning an honest living. He follows in his father’s footsteps of washing cars for a living. Not surprisingly, he sucks at that, too. He puts in zero effort and has to be bailed out by a friend.
This is Buster’s MO: half-ass everything, then wait for other people to bail you out. And bail him out they do. Despite the fact that he should be in jail, Buster gets a save from the people he lied to, who gather together on the rubble of the old theater and put on a performance.
It should be noted that the property has been seized by the bank, so we can add trespassing to Buster’s growing list of crimes. At one point during the performance, a representative of the bank tries to shut the whole thing down. The movie seems to want us to see her as a villain, but she’s well within her rights. Give Buster more leeway, and he might knock down an entire city block.
In the end, the diva whose life Buster endangered gives him a big ass check so he can rebuild his theater. I hope her other plans for that money included lighting it on fire, because that’s effectively what she did. Buster has no business sense or willingness to work – he’ll run that operation into the ground again within a year.
Sing 2 is in the works, which is one of the ways that I know we live in a dystopian future. Hopefully, the sequel will be a police procedural in which animal versions of the Untouchables give Buster the Al Capone treatment so that damned koala can get the comeuppance he deserves.