A Cappella, Anna Kendrick, Barack Obama, Barden Bellas, Barden University, Brittany Snow, Cinema, College, Comedy, Das Sound Machine, DSM, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Junk, Fat Amy, Film, Hailee Steinfeld, Miley Cyrus, Movie Review, Musical, Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, Pop Music, Rebel Wilson, Singing, Tomorrowland, Universal Pictures, University, Unlimited Card, Wrecking Ball
“Pitch Perfect” was a pretty popular film – it managed to create a dedicated fan base through its humour and an array of likeable characters, and on top of that it was a musical accessible to everyone, with plenty of popular songs being rehashed in creative ways. However, personally I wasn’t that keen on the new age musical, because frankly it didn’t speak to my tastes. I accept that it did what it intended to do quite well, but I would never watch it by choice.
So, as you might imagine, a sequel wasn’t something that I was particularly interested in, especially given the fact that it received mixed reviews upon release. Nevertheless, the beauty of having an Unlimited Card is that you can afford to see films that you wouldn’t see otherwise, because there’s no monetary loss if you decide you’d rather leave the cinema than carry on watching (as I did with the recently released “Tomorrowland”). I’m glad that I gave this film a shot, because I preferred the songs that were covered and the jokes hit a lot more often for me than they did in the first film. Furthermore, I enjoyed the venture away from the a cappella group into the music producing industry, as it added a layer of depth to the main character and provided quieter moments away from constant singing; that character development was present throughout the film, as many of the group had to face up to the harsh reality of life after college.
The film begins with the Barden Bellas on top, performing in front of Barack Obama on his birthday! However, things go array when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has an unexpected wardrobe malfunction whilst performing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” on aerial silks. This might sound a bit wacky, but it’s a novel way to start the film and it made the entire audience laugh, which can’t be a bad thing. This unfortunate event is the catalyst for the story that follows, as the Bellas must win the a cappella World Championships in order to atone for Amy’s disgrace and become reinstated as an a society at Barden University.
The performances in this movie were pretty good for what they are; as Beca, Anna Kendrick is as likeable and quirky as ever, and Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy is just as over the top and ridiculous as she was in the original film. It wasn’t the characters that I disliked about the first film, it was more the fact that a lot of the humour missed its mark for me. In this film that isn’t the case, so as a result I liked this movie a lot more, and I felt that the performances were fine – all of the actors involved seem to understand the roles that they’re playing, and they also look as though they are enjoying themselves, which rubs off on the audience.
Additions to the cast such as Bella newcomer Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfeld), and German a cappella group Das Sound Machine, were integrated quickly into the film’s universe, and they were probably my favourite aspects of the movie. Emily was very endearing, because she was slightly ditzy and a bit strange, but she was also talented and had aspirations for what she would be after college. This was something that the other Bellas (apart from Beca) didn’t really have, and by the end of the movie it was clear that Emily was probably more mature than the rest of the group even though she was a freshman. Das Sound Machine (DSM) were entertaining throughout, and their leaders made for very entertaining antagonists. I really liked their musical numbers, particularly because the songs they were singing were more aligned with the type of music I enjoy; they were energetic and amusing, and worked wonderfully in this film.
I feel that if there’s one legitimate complaint to be made about this film it’s that Anna Kendrick’s arc outside of the main story would probably have been a more interesting focus for the movie, but time was taken away from this by the array of side characters that the first film created. However, there’s a good chance that we’ll see “Pitch Perfect 3” at some point in the future, so I think it’s likely that this story will be revisited then, and that Beca’s scenes were present here simply to facilitate her return in that sequel, perhaps as a mentor for Emily in her music career.
I also felt that the ending was slightly predictable, because the Bellas knew they had to do something different in order to have a chance against DSM, and that something was always going to be singing an original song – especially because doing so was denigrated so much in earlier scenes. Still, this is a family flick, so the twist at the end wasn’t really supposed to blow the audience’s collective mind. At the end of the day, the people involved in creating this movie know their audience and they’re aware that everyone watching wants a clear resolution, so it makes sense to signpost the ending throughout the movie to make that resolution as clear as possible and keep the masses happy.
“Pitch Perfect 2” is the movie that everyone involved wanted it to be; it’s fun, light-hearted, easy to watch, and occasionally hilarious, so all in all it’s a massive success. Although some people might’ve expected a movie that diverged more from the first film, that was never going to happen given the financial and critical triumph that that film was, and I think such expectations are downright fantastical. This film was made for casual cinemagoers who liked “Pitch Perfect” and wanted more of the same, and if it makes those people happy then I think it’s done more than enough to warrant praise, particularly because in my opinion it is a lot funnier than the original.