Oh the woes of a good movie being released the same week as Mad Max: Fury Road, which is still one of the best damn movies I have ever seen. It took me and what I will assume to be many others months to finally see Pitch Perfect 2 due to its release date that may very well be the poster child for bad timing. But now that we are well past its release date and approaching the month of October, it is high time to look back at the sequel to the potential classic movie Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2.
I am going to start this review off by saying that there is certainly nothing wrong with this movie. It is rather good in just about every aspect. There were no major complaints on technical levels. But I will say that the movie was certainly safe. Like many popular sequels, Pitch Perfect 2 can be summed up with ‘a well told retracing of the previous movie.’
Three years after the events of the first movie, the Barden Bellas have had great success. They have won three championships and even gained the opportunity to perform for the President of the United States. However, after a mishap that goes terribly wrong, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) ends up splitting her pants and flashing her vagina to the entire audience in attendance. The backlash of the events leads to the a Capella organization wishing to dismantle the Bellas. But, the ladies find a loophole in that they have already been pre-chosen to represent the United States in the World a Capella Championships in Copenhagen.
The ladies begin to focus on the World Championships in the hopes of keeping the Bellas alive. They even recruit a legacy named Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) to join their group. However, not everyone is fully on board as Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) looks towards the future after winning an internship with a record studio.
The movie follows the Bellas as they attempt to regain their honor and decide what they are going to do once everything is said and done at Barden College.
From the song and dance sequences, the characters, the jokes, and the story. This movie has everything that made fans fall in love with the first movie. None of the characters are played up to levels of annoyance, nothing is over done, and overall it is just a really fun watch.
As I said about the first one, this is the movie that you watch with a group of fellow music lovers and pick and choose which one best represents certain members in the group. It is a movie that is very relatable and it doesn’t lose its roots in the making of the second film.
Deals with Some Existential Problems
The first movie was the kind of movie that could be seen through either college or high school eyes. The problems that they dealt with and the life lessons they learned did lend themselves more to college then to high school, but it wasn’t that big of a margin. In Pitch Perfect 2 however, this movie deals with some pretty heavy stuff that a lot of college kids have had to and still do deal with on a daily basis.
The major theme that confounds a lot of the Bellas, in particular Beca and Chloe, is the idea of what they are going to do after they graduate college. For a lot of them, they are almost terrified and worried of life outside of college. This manifests in Beca’s desire to put the Bellas second to her internship at the record studio and Chloe focusing all her attention on the Bellas as she has already intentionally failed a class three years in a row to stay in college just to be apart of the Bellas.
The major third act epiphany is the girls all deciding what they want to do when they graduate and how their lives are going to change for the better by moving on from the norm. It is a fascinating subplot and one that is done very well.
The Treblemakers were Better Antagonists than Das Sound Machine and the Trebles are Poorly Represented
The Treblemakers from the first movie were the perfect antagonists. They had a person that you wanted to see get their comeuppance in Bumper (Adam DeVine). You had relationship subplots and forbidden love with Jesse (Skylar Astin). And you had a character you wanted to see succeed in Benji (Ben Platt). There was story and there was emotion in the Treblemakers, you felt for them, but you still wanted to see the Bellas beat the living shit out of them when it came to singing. When it comes to antagonists, Das Sound Machine is a MAJOR step down from the Treblemakers.
The Treblemakers presence in this film is simply puzzling. They have very little to do with this movie besides a reason to keep Jesse, Benji, and Bumper around. As a matter of fact, we could even get into the fact that through the course of these two movies, Jesse, who is a character that we all like have led the Treblemakers to the worst losing streak that they have seen in years after Bumper left and the Bellas became amazing. The Trebles used to be the number one a Capella group and now they clearly play second fiddle to the Bellas in every way imaginable since Bumper left and Jesse took over. They do supplement the Trebles clear lack of motivation to be in this movie with a song and dance number that is dripping in sexual conotations and give Bumper and Benji a romantic subplot with two of the Bellas. But still their presence in the film has only served to bury them further down the a Capella pecking order.
But by comparison, the Treblemakers were head and shoulders better antagonists than Das Sound Machine. The first movie there were tons of sub plots that interconnected the Bellas and the Treblemakers that made for a compelling movie. In this movie, Das Sound Machine is simply a Dragon that the Bellas need to slay. They have no character or personality, there only tie in with the Bellas is that they are good, they need to be defeated in order to stay alive, and Beca clearly wants to fuck the blonde dominatrix in charge. There is no character to Das Sound Machine except they are good and they are German. There only reason for existing in this movie is to give the Bellas an enemy to beat and by comparison is a rough to watch from the excellent story telling of the first movie.
The best way that I can describe the plot that is presented in comparison to the first movie is ‘same shit, different day’. The overall plot of the movie is exactly the same as the first movie with minor changes. The Bellas are faced with a problem, they recruit X newbies to help with the problem, there is a scene where they have an a Capella style battle, they have problems bonding that which culminates in the second act coming together thing, they compete in the competition, they kick ass, they win. Simply put, it is pretty much the same script with little changes here and there to satisfy everyone’s tastes bud. In a word, the movie is ‘safe’.
While the scene with the ‘biggest a Capella fan’ played by a very flamboyant and enjoyable David Cross is fun. It is the exact same scene as the ‘pool battle’ from the first movie. Beca is still conflicted about her role in the group only instead of battling Aubrey for the direction the Bellas are going, she is conflicted about focusing on her life after college or the Bellas. There are Treblemaker romance subplots, but they don’t focus on Beca and Jesse, the focus on Fat Amy and Bumper and Emily and Benji. It is the same script, just with a few tweeks. This is sequelitis if I ever saw it. It is just too safe and although they did it well, it is still a con if you bring me the same package, but with some slightly different wrappings.
Overall, the movie may be ‘safe’ and the antagonists may be a step down from the original, but it is still a rock solid movie that will hit you in the feels. It is well acted, the characters are fun, the story is solid, and there is nothing that is annoying or irritating that tends to follow a sequel. If you are a fan of the first movie, you definitely need to see it! If you haven’t seen the first movie yet, be sure to check it out first before you see this one so that you are not confused.
Final Score 3.5/5
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