3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pitch Perfect 2 Review

It’s definitely been a while since I saw the first Pitch Perfect. The series definitely goes for a very “Bring it On” vibe throughout and this sequel is no exception. A film being about A Capella is definitely still pretty original since that’s not the most popular form of entertainment out there and the movies consistently make you aware of this fact as everyone comments on it. Unfortunately I can’t say that this film was a success, it makes pretty much all of the mistakes you would expect.

The movie starts with the Bellas performing on another grand stage. Unfortunately there ends up being a mishap involving Amy which shames the group and puts them in a global controversy. Their group is now about to be disbanded. Fortunately, due to some quick thinking on the group’s part they are going to get a second chance. If they want to keep the group alive then they are going to have to win the world tournament. The problem is that America has never won it before and the commentators mention that nobody likes the U.S. so it’ll never happen. Still, at least now they have something to fight for!

The group isn’t in perfect sync at the moment though. Beca still enjoys this competition, but she is ready to move on with her life and has begun an internship at a big music recording studio. She is actually having some success here, but keeping this big secret is threatening to ruin the group forever. Meanwhile a new girl named Emily has shown up and she really wants to be a Bella. Her Mom was one and always mentioned that it was the best time of her life. Emily is doing her best to fit in, but the only issue is that the others are giving her a hard time and the group may not even exist soon. Still, she is ready to give it her all. Can the girls find a way to win this tournament against the German favorites DSM?

Well, I guess we should get into the positives first because they are outnumbered. Some of the songs can still be catchy. I always like the idea of a Capella battle which is just really cool. One group starts a song and then when the judge gives the queue the next team has to immediately jump in with a different song, but tuned to the same beat. In a sense this means the first team will always have the advantage, but since they’re starting they need to pick a song that picks up right away. This film has a bigger song battle than the first film as it is around 4-5 groups all going at it. It’s easily the best part of the film and really should have been the climax.

I also liked Sammy. He’s Beca’s boss at the studio and is really a scene stealer. He’s definitely a bit on the rude side, but definitely does know what he is doing. He’s got a real quick wit when it comes to music even if he is considerably slower on the take when it comes to learning someone’s name. That’s one thing he couldn’t wrap his head around. His dynamic with one of the interns was also pretty fun as the guy kept on throwing ideas, but Sammy really didn’t like any of them. Honestly I didn’t think that the guy’s ideas were all that bad. At least he was trying right? This is exactly why some people don’t volunteer ideas because you don’t want to get shut down like that. I think part of what makes these scenes work though is the intern never loses his nerve and keeps trying to talk anyway. He certainly doesn’t take it personally and it takes a lot of fortitude to keep getting back up.

I thought Emily was also a reasonable character. She wasn’t as strong as Sammy, but at least she had a lot of enthusiasm and wanted to help make the Bellas better. It’s hard to excuse her for messing up in the music battle since that was a bit selfish, but otherwise I don’t think she made any mistakes. She felt more like the main character than Beca this time around with how much of a focus she got. Without her in the squad ironically not much may have really changed, but I’m sure her optimism helped the group out a lot off screen as well.

Now lets get into the bad parts of the film. First off, the writing is pretty terrible. Almost every line is someone making a dirty joke or just saying something super offensive for no real reason. The latter kind of humor can work if handled perfectly like in Airplane, but you really have to have talented writers to pull it off. Otherwise everyone just ends up being unlikable and you’re always getting ready to cringe at what’s about to be said next. There is really no safe point where you can just wait for it to all go away.

The romance plots in the film are all handled poorly as well. This is to be expected, but they all move very fast with no realistic development. You’ve got the magician who likes Emily but can’t even form a coherent sentence together. Then you have Amy and the other guy whose romance goes from being completely shut down to then they are back in biz. If I were the guy I’d be a little worried since Amy constantly hints that she will have a hard time sticking to one guy so that really does not bode well.

Meanwhile Beca isn’t quite as good as she used to be. Her keeping the massive internship secret was not a good idea. She also gets overly defensive about it when pushed which is just playing the blame game at this point. Beca also gets completely defeated by the leader of DSM in every single confrontation they have, which was not a good look. She may not be the leader of the team or anything, but she is a senior member so you would expect her to stay strong and at least have some kind of retort to the antagonists. By losing each time she really lost her chance of being a capable member.

Then you have Amy whose gimmick revolves around constantly using self deprecating humor on herself and also leads the charge for most of the iffy jokes. She’s the one who gets the group into trouble at the very beginning of the film and doesn’t really stop from there. Her character is definitely the most extreme from the group but it doesn’t always work out in a good way.

There are other characters on the Bellas and some of them have a good sized role but not to the same extent as the big 3. Mostly they’re just here for humor scenes and the leader is the only one who gets a role. She has good reason to be upset since none of the others seem to be taking the team seriously at times. She did invest multiple years on the team so to watch it go down like this is tragic.

The film did a good job of picking commentators who really sound like professional ones in real life. The humor there is supposed to be in how crude they are while announcing. I’ll grant the film that the voices are on point and sometimes they land a good joke but usually the guy goes a little too far. Both of them constantly walk into the insults and then throw some more of them out there.

As for the climax, that one was underwhelming. I didn’t mind the songs in general. Using a competition to end off the film is a good finale. It’s just that the film really gave the Bellas a bad song to end things off with. DSM’s song completely blew theirs out of the water so it’s hard to see how the heroes won that match. I suppose going for a brand new song is a pretty bold tactic, but not one that would win you the world championships. Of course music is completely subjective, but for me it was one of the weakest songs in the whole film so ending off with that was…interesting. It really didn’t have energy compared to DSM’s.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 2 is not a sequel that takes the series to new heights. It makes all the mistakes it possibly can. The plot makes sense for a sequel as you can’t get bigger than the world championships and adding a new main character was good since she was better than most of the established ones. That being said, she couldn’t help carry the film. More scenes with Sammy would have been great since he was definitely entertaining. This is the kind of film that may be fun as you are watching it, but ultimately falls well short of being a good title. If you want a better musical film you should check out Camp Rock or High School Musical.

Overall 3/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pitch Perfect Review

If you’ve been a loyal follower of my blog reviews then you can probably tell that this is not going to be a positive review. How could it be when it’s a musical that basically revolves around fan service and suggestive material? The poster can basically sum up the film, but you still can’t judge a film until you’ve seen a few pics or a still and watching the whole thing gives you more credibility as well. Let’s see where it messed up.

There are a few A Capella groups that compete across the various districts in Regional Tournaments. They make all of the music and sounds using just their mouths so no instruments are allowed. One year, one of the schools panics and the victory ends up going to the Treblemakers. Well, a year has passed and the girls decide that they are going to win this year. The problem is that there are only two members left so they go to recruit some people.

This takes us to the main character. Her name is Beca and she’s not a very sociable person. She just wants to be a DJ so she blows off her classes once she arrives at this new college. Her father is a professor there and he tells her that if she sticks with a club until the end of the year and still doesn’t like it…he’ll help her find a place in L.A. to become a DJ. She actually believes this and quickly decides to join the A Capella group alongside Fat Amy. Other girls quickly join the club through tryouts (The club just picks them all since they’re desperate) and now the girls have a chance to win the tournament and get everyone to admit that the Trebelmakers are last year’s news. Speaking of which….the Trebelmakers bring in a new guy as well. He happens to be Beca’s coworker so he’s pretty talented. This could be a close match!

It’s a little hard to know where to start when discussing this film. It’s basically a modernized Bring It On and the scary part is that it actually may contain more fanservice and suggestive material. That is saying a Lot if you are familiar with Bring It On. Of course, I haven’t seen that film in quite a long time so it’s possible that it’s still the much worse film. You just can’t get away from all of the inappropriate jokes and lines. It’s almost literally every other sentence so you’re basically doomed as soon as it has begun.

The “Big” scenes also don’t do it for me. You know the kind of scene that I mean right? The one where the audience is supposed to jump up and say thing like “Hey!” “All right” or “That’s what I’m talking about.” Action scenes where this applies is: When Coulson shoots Loki, Superman tackles Zod, or when Godzilla blasts Muto. So, our equivalent here might be when Beca starts to sing on stage as she wrecks Aubrey’s plan, When she jumps in during the underground tournament, or when she leads them into their final song. These are the “Big” moments for the film, but I can safely say that I didn’t get up and start cheering. It’s simply a different kind of scene and not one that I can get into. (It helps that she was rapping in the second scene) They were bold moves on her part, but that’s about all that I can say for it. It didn’t help me like her more as a character.

Beca is basically your average main character for this kind of film. The twist is that she can be a little goth, but she is actually a nice person deep down. She likes DJ a lot so she is familiar with rap songs. This comes back to bite her later since A Capella groups simply don’t rap. (The Trebepmakers evidently forget this as they rap for their final song.) Beca is pretty reasonable at first sonce she decides that she is mot going to fall for the romance trap. You can imagine that this definitely did not last long. She falls into all of the tropes that you would expect her to fall into, but that definitely doesn’t help her character.

Aubrey is the mean leader who is always living in the past. I can respect the fact that she heavily enforces the anti romance rules for the club, but she doesn’t have the best reasoning for it. It is definitely hard to find her likable so I am sure that we were all hoping that Beca would take the reins sooner than later.

Chloe is Aubrey’s partner and she could be the best main character in theory. It is a little “by default” but we will take it. She is nice to Beca and she revolts against Aubrey’s leadership at times, but she still isn’t a very good character. She should have been a little bolder in her quest to win the tournament. Taking the lead like Beca did would have helped with that.

Fat Amy is the fan favorite character who gets a pretty big role. She’s the one who brings a lot of the main characters together in the first place. She’s portrayed to be the overweight character who’s actually pretty smart and well versed in the ways of the world. It makes you feel bad for the other characters at times since they are so outmatched. That being said, she’s still not very likable. She falls into all of the faults that the other characters possess and she’s too interested in the romance angle. (All of them are to an extent though)

There are other members of the main squad, but they don’t really have much of a role in this story. Lilly’s gimmick was particularly annoying since her voice was so soft that nobody could hear her. You know what that means right? We get a scene at the end where she begins to rap and all of the characters are blown away. At the very least, the audience is supposed to do a double take. One member seems to be there just so we can have some more jokes to make about how easy the guys are.

Jesse is the main guy, but he’s a pretty bad character from start to finish. Beca keeps trying to stay as platonic friends during the intro of the film, but Jesse won’t have that for a second. This is a film so naturally they both become pretty close by the end, but then Jesse quickly deserts Beca after one of her outbursts. He started things so it looks kind of sad for him to be rushing out so quickly. He’s also a talented singer though, which is pretty lucky for him considering the circumstances. Now he can stay relevant to the plot. He definitely didn’t do anything for me.

The leader of the Trebelmakers is the main villain and he’s as sad as you would expect. He’s actually pretty good and his team won the tournament many times in the previous years. If he was a nice person, things would probably be very different. That being said, you can’t blame him for ditching the team to become rich and famous. He definitely could have told his teammates about this in a nicer way, but that’s just how his character is. I’m pretty sure that we would all make a similar decision or maybe try to do both, but we would certainly not let go of the money.

The announcers for the shows are good when they’re insulting all of the competitors, but that’s about all that they are good for. They still make way too many crude jokes so that you can’t actually enjoy what they are saying. The film seemed like it just wanted to go overboard in every way possible. The stereotype that every guy is perverted is also getting really old very quickly. It makes them look soooo terrible.

Finally, the film lost a lot of points on the actual singing and dancing. At least have them sing some respectable songs! The heroes are typically using their bodies to wow the audience and the lyrics can be forgettable. I was actually rooting for the Trebelmakers based on their songs for a while, but then their final one just threw that out the window. The main characters are basically objectifying themselves in order to win a simple trophy and that’s hardly worth the effort. It’s also pretty degrading to their characters to participate in this.

The film doesn’t really have much of a soundtrack beyond the musical parts, but I didn’t really enjoy the songs. The film is really just a bundle of negatives for me that have been rolled into a film. It’s pretty enjoyable in the few instances where there are no crude lines, but that’s like eating a giant bowl of tomatoes (Or insert food that you don’t like) to find a chocolate chip. So, I really can’t say that the film had any pros. The script just doomed it instantly and the fanservice certainly didn’t help matters.

Overall, Pitch Perfect is about what you would expect. It’s the kind of film that I couldn’t recommend to a guy on principle. Technically, it’s more or less okay for all others, but you can still find something nicer to enjoy like Yugioh. The fanservice is just too much as it corrodes the film and every character is basically objectified. The songs also tend to be pretty edgy and the rapping didn’t help matters. This just shows how bad a script can be when film writers don’t know what to do except for the classic rule that fanservice sells. There’s also a scene that shows us how an animal has been mistreated for a while, which is supposed to be funny, but just made the film sink a little more. Seriously, go watch High School Musical instead!

Overall 1/10