4 years

Review: Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

The Bella's must once again pull everything they have and start afresh after a particularly humiliating mid-show debucle harms their aca-careers.

A review of Pitch Perfect 2

We have all seen the aca-perfect film that is Pitch Perfect, right? If not, get off the internet this instant and go watch it! It’s an incredible mix of comedy, romance, music and respect for the outcasts which I think we can all agree is pretty amazing. Released in 2012, the first movie follows Beca (Anna Kendrick) as she starts her freshman year at Barton University and is convinced to join the Barton Bella’s, the schools all-girl a capella singing group, after much persuasion from Bella Chloe (Brittany Snow). Beca, along with other new recruits Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean) and Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) add some much needed change and energy into the group.

Together they learn to embrace each other, their differences and their talents to improve the Barton Bella’s for the better as they take on their male rivals of Barton University, the Treble Makers, in the showdown. Pitch Perfect was considered a reasonable success amassing $65 million at the box office from a mere $17 million budget. Although it wasn’t as impressive as many other movies the box office income combined with the DVD sales turned Pitch Perfect into a cult classic and a guilty pleasure for many. Needless to say, fans wanted a sequel so who are they to say no?

I saw the first it in the cinema back in 2012 and I admit, I have a huge soft spot for girlie comedies. Except, this one wasn’t your average girlie comedy. It combined the romance and feel-good chick-flick feelings with a whole new musical experience. Sure, music and dance competitions have been done again and again in the film world but a capella groups performing and competing – that was something new entirely and I lapped it up. I was astounded to see what they could bring together and pleasantly surprised. I expected a capella singing to be boring and quiet, but what’s seen in that film is nothing of the sort. So, to get to the point I knew what I was getting into and had high expectations. I needed the same amount of comedy and astounding performances, if not more. Obviously, I had to see the movie as soon as it hit cinemas.

Pitch Perfect 2 begins three years after the events of the first movie. The freshmen Bella’s are in their final year of college and they are now champions of their craft. The movie plonks you head-first into a capella performances from our favourite Bella’s as they are putting on a command performance at Lincoln Center. Whilst on stage, during their performance the Barton Bella’s are humiliated on stage in front of the President of the United Stated of America. This wrecks their status as performers and subsequently they are taken out of the Aca-Circuit. In order to restore their status and the right to perform, the Bella’s must pull everything they have together and be stronger than ever in order to win at an international competition. One that no American group has ever won before, a seemingly impossible task. Can the Bella’s pull it off?

The plot of the movie is much more developed than the first movie; you are already familiar with the characters, the relationships, the Bella’s and what they do so you feel invested already. But Pitch Perfect 2 adds more into the mix, as it’s the final year so the girls are thinking about what they will do after college. There are focuses on Beca, of course, but Fat Amy gets a lot more of the limelight in this movie and we get to know her a little better. In addition to this, because the Bellas are now seniors, there is new blood in the movie which is in the form of freshman Emily (Hailee Stanfeild) which brings a welcome change – her personality is unique, as is all of the Bella’s. We also meet another Bella who wasn’t present in the first movie, Flo (Chrissie Fit) whose character is comical without realising it. The plot focuses on the Bella’s building themselves up from their humiliation, which I admit feels familiar and in some ways feels like a re-hash of the first movie. However, although it is similar in style, the events in the movie feel different. The Bellas are friends, not strangers, and this is a huge change in atmosphere and focus. A few of the scenes are near replicas of those in the first movie, but work as there are enough significant changes for them to feel new rather than used.

Kendrick, Wilson and Snow are the main focuses in the second movie, as they were in the first, and shine brightly in their roles. They are talented actors and are able to carry the film alone if need be, but luckily they have an amazing supporting cast in the rest of the Bellas with their witty one-liners, and not forgetting the incredible performances from Elizabeth Banks as Gail and John Michael Higgins as John who add a masterfully comedic commentary throughout the movie (although at times it felt like the lesser featured of the Bellas do not get as much screen time or jokes as they did the first time round). Also, I missed the Treble Makers who were not featured as heavily as in the first movie, understandably, and the romance between Beca and Jessee (Skylar Astin) took a backseat in this one which left me feeling underwhelmed. Jessee was a favourite of mine in the first movie and he did not get featured enough in this movie.

Most importantly, the movie had incredible direction and the performances have just improved from the first movie. Banks excels at directing and proves that she knows comedy and can deliver it faultlessly. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and, although I wasn’t wowed by a new experience like I was with the first movie, it was solid and kept me entertained. The focus on Fat Amy was a wise move, adding more laughs by focussing on a gem of a character. It was comedic, musical, sound and touching at times. The first movie will always be one of my favourites and although for me the sequel just doesn’t hit that mark for me it was a good movie. It’s a film I can happily watch again and again and certainly one that will cheer me up from any glum mood.


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