Years ago, I went on a rant about Buster Moon and his villainous antics in Sing. At the time, I had no intention of ever seeing Sing 2, as I didn’t need more of that awful koala in my life. But I have children, and I tend to be a permissive parent. Thus, against my will and better judgment, I found myself sitting down for a viewing of Sing 2 as part of a family movie night.
So, Buster Moon has had an entire film to grow and develop as a character. In the sequel, is he still a monster? The long answer follows, but the short answer is: YES.
Buster Moon Learned No Lessons
My issue with Buster in the first film was that he thought his dreams were more important than everybody else’s. While the narrative said that he was doing his little show for everybody who ever had an unfulfilled dream, his actions demonstrated that he thought everybody else owed him a living. Ideally, he might have learned some humility, respect for others, and acknowledgement that just having a dream is not enough to deserve a life of luxury.
Did he take that look in the mirror and change anything about himself? Not in the slightest.
In Sing 2, Buster is back to being a conniving, fraudulent huckster. He gets a bug up his butt because somebody implies that his act doesn’t have what it takes to play on a national stage. When he tries to prove her wrong by auditioning for Jimmy Crystal, he is instantly rejected. The only reason he gets his foot in the door is because he commits fraud by claiming that he has secured the cooperation of a long-reclusive musician in a big production…that he hasn’t even started writing.
Now, Jimmy Crystal, Buster’s employer, is equally terrible, willing to commit murder over his reputation as a peerless producer. And Crystal is also an idiot for committing to a show without even checking to see what has already been put to paper. But his failings don’t excuse the fact that Buster is immediately in over his head. He can’t issue plans for the set when they’re due because he doesn’t have a script. He puts his talent in positions that are outright wrong for them, and can’t stand up for his creative vision when an actress is foisted upon him.
Furthermore, Buster’s whole plan to get the reclusive Clay Calloway is to…let someone else do it. He sends his assistant out to his house completely unprepared, which leads to her getting shot up by a paintball gun and suffering through a car crash. He doesn’t even offer an apology for this negligence; instead, he just recruits somebody else to serve as his escort.
Buster Moon learned nothing from his previous adventure. He is still the same self-centered, smarmy crook who thinks with his ego and doesn’t put a single moment of consideration into the wellbeing of others who were foolish enough to put their trust into him.
He Hired Convicted Criminals
One of the few actual character arcs in Sing focused on the relationship between Johnny the gorilla and his criminal father. That movies ended with Johnny’s dad coming to terms with his son’s desire to be in showbusiness (although it happened through his discovery that Johnny is supremely talented; when can we get a film where somebody has middling talent but their parents accept them because they recognize their passion regardless?), and Sing 2 opens with the gorilla gang on a work release program.
So what does Buster do? He goes and jeopardizes their freedom so he can put on a show.
Toward the end of the movie, Buster breaks into a venue to put on a show that has been canceled due to his egregious breach of contract. In order to ensure that Jimmy Crystal’s security crew doesn’t act within their legal rights and expel the intruders, he has the gorilla gang show up and beat up anybody who tries to shut down the show.
To repeat: he has a bunch of convicted criminals cross state lines, which alone is certainly a violation of their probation. He then has them commit felony assault on a security team who is trying to expel him for trespassing after he has committed fraud by lying about the basis of his show…a show that Jimmy Crystal spent significant amounts of money to fund despite the fact that Buster had no script and no star.
Buster doesn’t even have the gang change their attire; they still wear the bunny masks they donned when they were robbing banks. The cops are certainly going to recognize them, and those guys are all going to jail again. Buster just ruined Johnny’s family life, but at least he got to put on a show.
He Shows No Sympathy To His Cast
During preparation for the big production, Buster runs into a problem when he discovers that his star Rosita has a crippling fear of heights and thus cannot do the climactic stunt that requires her to bungee jump while singing. After initially reassigning the part to Jimmy’s daughter Porsha, Buster puts Rosita back in the role when he discovers that Porsha can’t act.
Now, getting an actor to overcome a fear is a worthwhile service. It helps her grow as a person. However, it also requires some effort and resources. Does Buster have a pep talk up his sleeve? Does he recommend a therapist or counselor to help overcome the fear? Does he even give her a stress ball? No. He just puts her back in the position, tells her that he really needs her to do well, and resumes his efforts to scam Clay Calloway out of retirement.
The final stunt does work out, but only because of a moonshot of a coincidence: Jimmy throws Buster to his doom just as Rosita is about to do the stunt live. With the motivation of her friend(?)’s life at stake, she overcomes her fear and performs perfectly. But what if that hadn’t happened? She was in the midst of hyperventilating before she noticed Buster in danger. Odds are that the stunt fails, the final song never happens, and Buster is revealed to be a sham of a showman.
But this is Buster Moon, and because something worked out in his favor thanks to blind luck, he is convinced that he earned that win.
Sing 3 When?
So, in the sequel, Buster Moon went from being a self-centered jerk to a self-centered jerk who is okay with committing violent crime in order to build his entertainment empire. While Jimmy Crystal is presented as the villain, he’s really just Buster Moon with extra steps: someone who refuses to take “No” for an answer, thinks he is entitled to whatever he wants, and doesn’t have any problems with putting the hurt to anybody who crosses his path or hurts his ego.
And, hell, I’m on board with continuing this in Sing 3.
Sing 3 is coming out at some point this year, and I say bring it. But I do have one stipulation: I want to see Buster Moon progress to his natural conclusion. I want Sing 3 to be Scarface with singing animals. Illumination Entertainment has spent two movies making increasingly thin excuses for Buster’s monstrous behavior. Let’s bring it home and have him go full-on mobster. If this next film doesn’t end with Buster sitting at a desk with a big pile of cocaine watching his hired thugs beat up critics while Porcupine Scarlett Johansson sings “Wrecking Ball” in the background, I will consider it a missed opportunity.
Images: Illumination Entertainment