Theme: The Song of Creation
Sing, Illumination Entertainment’s animated motion picture of courage, competition, and carrying a tune was a box office favorite over the Christmas holidays. Audiences of all ages fell in love with the anthropomorphic creatures, singing classic songs making the movie soundtrack a hit in its own right.
It would be easy to write Sing off as a fun, cutesy, family entertainment film; but that would be a mistake. Underneath all the sparkle and glitz is a movie with a message. Sing is a song and it’s an invitation to join the choir.
The movie opens with an epiphany and one might add a play on words. Nana Noodleman is starring in the production entitled Epiphany which gives a literal epiphany to young Buster Moon attending his first show with his beloved father. It is the revealing moment when the little grey bear falls in love with the theater, and it sets the stage for the story to follow.
One of William Shakespeare’s most famous lines is from Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and men and women merely players.” There is a truth here which helps one understand what Sing is all about. The theater functions like a microcosm of the world and the anthropomorphic animals play the parts of men and women in the great story of creation.
In the opening scenes the theater is a glorious palace of magic and wonder; however, a note of discord is introduced. Nana Noodleman is not singing a song of praise but one of lament: “Once there was a way to get back homeward, Once there was a way to get back home. “ Something is wrong; the star of the show, a black sheep is no longer at home. She is lost.
The movie shifts to present day, and little Buster has grown up and is now owner of the theater. Unfortunately, the theater (remember it’s the world) has fallen on hard times. Everything is breaking down and there are no means to fix it. Not only is the theater under duress, the animals are suffering too. One by one the players are introduced, each in his own version of “hard times”. Over worked, underpaid, unappreciated, struggling to survive, they all grab for a chance at a way out when a mysterious flyer advertising a grand prize of $100,000 comes floating by.
Buster Moon is trying to make a comeback for his theater and settle all his debts by staging a singing competition. The flyers with the typo mistake, increasing the prize one hundredfold, have attracted a huge crowd to the audition. The little bear sets about choosing a “lucky few” who will get to compete. They are all there for the prize money; which takes center stage in a treasure chest all tied up in chains.
House Built on Sand1
Buster invites the elderly and wealthy Nana Noodleman to a special dress rehearsal. He is trying to get her to invest in the show before the prize money fraud is discovered. When a house is built on Mammon and mendacity, it will come crashing down; and so the theater does in a grandiose style. The once glorious palace of magic and wonder is washed away in a flood leaving only a pile of rubble.
Car Wash Baptism
Buster Moon is a broken man/bear. All his dreams have been washed away. He is left with two things: a confession, “I don’t have what it takes,” and a bucket, the one his father used to wash cars and earn money to buy the theater. Humbling himself, he returns to his father’s profession, puts on a borrowed Speedo and begins to serve others by washing cars.
Meena the elephant who was too afraid to sing for the audition, but was willing to be a stage hand in the background of the show, now comes forth in a revelation (epiphany) of glory. With the sun glowing around her, she puts on her headphones and stands in the fallen theater and sings Hallelujah. Yes, it is Leonard Cohen’s famous song and a lament of sorts but the chorus says it all - Hallelujah. In the middle of all the brokenness it is still the right and true vocation of all creatures to praise the Lord.2
Meena’s song of praise inspires Moon to return to the show in a “provisional theater”. They will not sing for money, nor compete with one another. They will sing because each one has a song within themselves, a song that is uniquely theirs, a song of praise to their Creator.
All Creatures Great and Small3
The concert not only releases the hidden treasure in each participant (they have always been the real treasure), it invites all the other creatures great and small to become part of the family and join in the song of creation.4 And while they rock and roll and sing together, a new theater is being erected: one more glorious than the original one ever was, one that is built on love, healing, forgiveness and community, and one which will never be washed away.
Hallelujah means “Praise the Lord”.
Moon always opens his shows with “All Creatures Great and Small.” It is suggestive of the Christian hymn, All Creatures of our God and King. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d3gO6qDLNA
For an excellent sermon by Timothy Keller on The Song of Creation visit: