HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Pitch Perfect 2
HTS Overall Score:83
Well, when a movie as successful as “Pitch Perfect” makes TEN TIMES its budget, you be assured that there will most definitely be a sequel. I guess that assures the creation of “Pitch Perfect 3” as “Pitch Perfect 2” followed that same phenomenon. The first movie wasn’t wildly inventive, but it certainly was fun. It followed that age old cliché of a singing dancing troupe having to overcome some sort of adversity and band together as a family. It’s not terribly original, but the inclusion of fun beats and a cheeky irreverence to the genre kept it fun and malleable. Let’s be realistic though, the real reason we’re watching these movies is to listen to the music. That alone is really what will make or break the series, and the sequel manages to have enough good mashups as to be appealing to those who liked the first one.
The Bellas are back! Well, for a short time. After accidentally giving the President of the United States a full moon over Georgia with an accidental wardrobe malfunction, the Barden Bellas are banned from the collegiate circuit for the rest of their time in college (which isn’t much for a lot of them, who are seniors….one in particular a 4 year senior). Taking that in stride, Beca (Anna Kendrick) talks the head honchos of the American Acapella Association into letting them back in IF they can win the world championships in Germany. Only problem is, they’re up against Das Sound Machine, a group of unstoppable German speaking singers. The very same group that has actually taken over the Bellas roles in the States.
Joining the group is newcomer, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), a freshman who is the daughter of a former Bella member from back in the 80s. With her inclusion the Bellas just may have the edge they need to take on Das Sound Machine and regain their rightful status in the States. Problem is, they’ve kind of lost their edge. The first Bella performance is kind of a disaster, with the group badly out of sync and causing more of a spectacle than they would have wished for. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and the Bellas have to get some instruction from and teambuilding skills from none other than ex-Bella, Aubrey (Anna Camp). Throw in a few side plots about Benji (Ben Platt) and Emily getting romantically involved, as well as Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) hooking up with long time love/hate kinda hookup Bumper (Adam Devine) and we can call it a day.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53873[/img]I really enjoyed “Pitch Perfect”. My original review was a 3.5/5, but after watching it quite a few times I have to say that I’d kick it up a notch to a full 4/5. Unfortunately the sequel suffers from sequilitis, with Director Elizabeth Banks trying just a little bit too hard to top everything from the first movie. The laughs, the dirty jokes, the antics, the stage performances. All of them feel amped up to level 11 in an effort to outdo the fun of the first movie. Rebel Wilson is still basically playing herself, and surprisingly isn’t the weakest part of the film this time. Interestingly her relationship with Bumper is rather humorous and endearing. The real failure seems to lie with Elizabeth Banks and the writing crew, as the dialog portions of the movie just felt lost and meandering. We have long stretches of time where the Bellas are trying to find themselves, and the actual resolution of that journey seems just as confusing and meandering as before they went into the experience.
The good is that there are still some good points to the movie. Keegan-Michael Key is one of the highlights of the movie as Beca’s boss at the recording studio. I don’t think there has been a role that I’ve seen him play where Keegan did NOT just dominate the scene. The man is just too funny. The other breath of fresh air is Hailee Steinfeld as Emily. Hailee has really been making waves for herself the last couple of years, as she has finally bloomed into adulthood and started finding her own path. I still remember her first role (at least the first one I can remember) playing in Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of “True Grit”. To think that awkward little girl has grown up into a beautiful actress who seems to be able to take any role thrown at her. She takes the mediocre lines and direction given her and actually makes them BELIEVABLE. Last, but not least, we all know that we came here for the singing, which has luckily not gone downhill. There’s a lot of fun and upbeat mashups that are infused in the movie, my favorite being the underground sing-off, and a finale that actually beat the finale of the first movie in my opinion. In that respect, the movie gave us everything we were hoping for.
Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53881[/img]In true fashion for a day and date release, Universal has given us a truly fantastic looking 1.85:1 encoded Blu-ray disc that just sparkles and dazzles at every turn. Just like the first movie, “Pitch Perfect 2” is filled with the glitz and glamour of the stage, with sparkly costumes, neon bright stage lights, fox machines and everything and the kitchen sink too color wise. Facial detail is strong, with every pore and fiber of the Bellas standing out with pinpoint accuracy. Long shots look just as good, with exceptional clarity for all to see. Blacks are deep and inky, with no complaints of artifacting in the darker scenes. In fact, the ONLY glimpse of artifacting that I could find in the entire movie was some VERY mild banding in the end credits (so that really doesn’t count). This is a fantastic looking transfer and one to be very proud of watching on large screen
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53889[/img]“Pitch Perfect” had a solid audio track in its Blu-ray release, but Universal stepped up their game and gave us a truly remarkable audio experience. Sure there’s a lot of dialog, as the movie is basically a comedy with music in it, but the music so thoroughly saturates the experience that the 3 dimensionality of the experience is mesmerizing. All channels are lit up with activity, whether that be the hustle and bustle of the University campus, to the wild musical numbers that really is the glue of the movie experience. Last time I felt there was a little balance issue with the mix, but this film fixes that small little niggle and features a solid mix between the aggressive music and the laid back dialog. Bass is tight and punchy, never really getting down low, but focusing right in that 40hz and up range due to the large quantities of music involved.
• Bonus Song Performed by The Treblemakers
• Extended Musical Performances
• Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown
• Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Green Bay Rap
• Elizabeth Banks' Directorial Debut
• The Bellas Are Back
• The Making of the Riff-Off
• The World Championships of A Cappella
• Snoop Is in the House
• Residual Heat Internship
• An Aca-Love Story: Bumper and Fat Amy
• Legacy: Hailee Steinfeld
• Audio Commentary
“Pitch Perfect 2” is unfortunately not as fun as I was hoping for, mainly due to some poor direction and writing, but if you can go in with some tempered expectations there still is a decent amount of fun to be had. Honestly I think that Elizabeth Banks just bit off a tad more than she could chew here. As the direction seems a tad listless and the dialog more stilted than I remember. The musical performances are top notch, and the stunning audio and video are definitely a plus, so I would say this is worth checking out if you enjoyed the first movie.
Starring: Anna Kendricks, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Written by: Kay Cannon, Mickey Rapkin
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 115 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Buy Pitch Perfect 2 On Blu-ray at Amazon
More about Mike