Pitch Perfect Trilogy – Blu-ray Edition

Pitch Perfect directed by Jason Moore:

Can I write “loved it” as my review?  Because those two words really sum up how I feel about Pitch Perfect. I guess I do have to elaborate…

Sometimes when you go to see a film you are not looking for Dead Man Walking or Silence of the Lambs or even Shakespeare in Love. You just want to turn off for a couple of hours and are looking for something light and entertaining. That doesn’t mean that you want something mind numbing (read: stupid), you just don’t want twists, turns or other complexities. If you want my recommendation for when you are in this type of mood then it would be Pitch Perfect.

Going into teen flicks you never know what to expect. Most are crap. It is the rare few that are worth your time and money. Pitch Perfect by director Jason Moore (directed episodes of Dawson’s Creek and Brothers & Sisters) is a film that is smart, funny and contains plenty of great music. A good combination, if you ask me.

It is not the story per se that is the part that raises it up above the average. The story is a simple one about a young woman (Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air, Twilight) who placates her professor father by going to university when her heart is really in music production. It turns out that deciding to go to Barden College is one of the best decisions Beca has ever made as it has two highly competitive a capella singing groups. One of these groups is an all-male group called the Trebelmakers and the other is an all-girl group called the Barden Bellas. Beca, who can really sing, is at first not interested but after a member of the group (Brittany Snow – Hairspray, John Tucker Must Die) hears her singing in the shower she is strong-armed into being a member of the Barden Bellas. Once she is part of the group, Beca really begins to bloom.

There is your usual romance and coming-of-age storylines but what sets it apart is the attention the film pays to friendship and following your heart when it comes to career choices. Beca really comes into her own when she becomes friends (and maybe more) with Jesse (Skylar Astin – Taking Woodstock, Hamlet 2), a member of the Trebelmakers, and finds her voice when she speaks up and tries to change the musical direction of the Barden Bellas.

Pitch Perfect allows us to discover that Anna Kendrick is not only an intelligent actress but the girl can sing.  So can Brittany Snow, Anna Camp (The Help) and Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Ghost Rider) – who is hilarious in every scene she is in and pretty much steals them all. Yes, this is a musical but doesn’t fall into the cheesiness that often befalls Glee. Trust me.

While the story is not complex that doesn’t mean there is nothing to sink your teeth into. The dialogue is all witty, snappy, sarcastic, and well-written/delivered. I won’t be surprised to hear some of the lines from the film being uttered by teens.

Special Features:

 

  • Includes a digital copy of Pitch Perfect (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
  • Starships, the Pitch Perfect Music Video
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Meanwhile…
  • Line-O-Ramas
  • Backstage at Barden
  • On the Set: Burrito Drive By!
  • A Look Inside
  • Feature Commentary with Director Jason Moore and Producers Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman
  • Feature Commentary with Producer Paul Brook

Pitch Perfect 2 directed by Elizabeth Banks:

They are back, pitches! The first time around Pitch Perfect was quite enjoyable, thank you. It was one of those hits that came out of nowhere and that although there was little to no expectations about it became a modest hit. Now three years later that all-girl a cappella group the Barden Bellas are back and we have another fun film on our hands.

 

Usually when a low budget film makes it big at the box office the studio will quickly through a bunch of money at making a sequel to cash in on the unexpected success. That usually leads to a sequel that is painful to sit through and honestly takes a little of the shine off the original. Such is not the case with Pitch Perfect 2.

 

While it can never really be as enjoyable as the first as we kinda know what to expect this time around, the Bellas led by director Elizabeth Banks (known primarily for her acting but now directing her first feature) do not embarrass themselves. The film is like an episode of Glee with all the singing and flashy choreography and costumes with a major dose of humour. The jokes fly around fast and furious. It also gives a voice and platform to those who are usually teased and bullied like overweight, gay or even women.

 

Yes, I agree it is pretty much the first film done over again with some similar jokes and an almost the same plotline, but I didn’t care about that or feel ripped off as I sat there and watched the Bellas do their thing. Just sat back and enjoyed the musical ride.

 

The Barden Bellas have been banned from competing in the nationals after an incident involving Fat Amy (played by Rebel Wilson) and a sling (which does involve some Rebel Wilson flesh being exposed) while performing and are now in a state of disgrace. Instead of giving up the dream of dominating the world through singing and dancing the girls of the group find a loophole in the rules and start on the comeback trail.

 

They enter the world competition in Copenhagen. To get into the nationals they have to win the worlds (which doesn’t make too much sense to me, but…). Still their path is not a smooth one as they have to defeat the mighty (and tall) European champs, Das Sound Machine.  On top of that mountain to climb they also have to deal with the fact that their de facto leader Beca (played by Anna Kendrick) has not told them that she is also interning for a very demanding record producer (played by Keegan-Michael Key), so her attention is a little split. Times are tough in the vocal competition world.

Special Features:

 

  • Includes a digital copy of Pitch Perfect 2
  • Bonus Song Performed by the Treblemakers
  • Extended Musical Performances
  • Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown
  • Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Line-Aca-Rama
  • Green Bay Rap
  • Elizabeth Banks’ Directorial Debut
  • The Bellas Are Back
  • Aca-Camp
  • 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
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producers Paul Brooks and Max Handelman

Pitch Perfect 3 directed by Elizabeth Banks:

A spy movie farce coupled with plenty of music numbers. Sound like a film idea that will work? Not really, right? And yet it can mean a fun and frivolous 93 minutes at the movies. Listen, not all films have to be of Oscar quality. It is alright to just be fluffy. Take this film as it is meant to be and go in with reasonable expectations so you won’t be disappointed.

After a few years apart and lives that don’t seem to be going anywhere fast, the members of the a cappella group the Bellas are getting together from one last kick at the can. That kick means singing, courtesy of Aubrey’s (Anna Camp – from television’s True Blood) father, on an USO tour with DJ Khaled. Once there they realize that they are not just performing for the troops, but also taking part in a competition with a couple of other bands for the opening spot on tour with Khaled. Their competitive juices kick in and the Bellas are ready to fight.

While this is going on, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson – Brides Maids, Pitch Perfect) has a personal crisis going on. Her father (John Lithgow – Interstellar, Daddy’s Home 2) is back. They have been estranged since she was 18 as he is a criminal. Now he says that he has changed and just wants to spend time with his daughter. Has this cheetah changed his spots? Or is there an ulterior motive for his desire to reinsert himself in her life.

Beca (Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air, Trolls), who has just quit her music producer job, also finds herself in a pickle. She has caught the eye and ear of DJ Khaled’s manager, Theo (Guy Burnet – from television’s Chicago Fire), who gives a song she writes to DJ Khaled. The music superstar is so impressed that he wants Beca – not the Bellas – as his opening act. Will she walk away from the opportunity of a lifetime because of her loyalty to the Bellas?

What made the original film a success is here  – Kendrick is a master of the deadpan and Wilson is just crazy. You cannot help but like the two of them despite the fact that the script they have been given this time is a little tired and paper thin. The highlight of the film is the banter between the ever present John (John Michael Higgins – Best in Show, Blade: Trinity) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks – The Hunger Games, Magic Mike XXL). These two really play off each other well and have many of the best lines in the film.

Besides the comedy most come to Pitch Perfect movies for the music. You get some fun choreography and interesting reworkings of songs like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, George Michael’s “Freedom” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills”. Though, I personally, could have done with more music.

The low point of the film was the work of the usually great John Lithgow. Besides his here one moment gone the next Australian accent, there is his completely tone deaf portrayal of Fat Amy’s father which threatens to derail the whole spy film spoof.

Special Features:

 

  • Includes a digital copy of Pitch Perfect 3
  • New Musical Performances
  • Extended Musical Performances
  • Deleted Scene: Aubrey at Amy’s Hotel Door
  • Gag Reel
  • Competition Crescendo
  • A Cappella Action
  • The Women of Pitch Perfect 3
  • Don’t Mess With Rebel
  • The Headliner: DJ Khaled
  • The Final Note: John and Gail
  • Just Because He’s a Bad Guy
  • The Final Performance
  • “Freedom! ’90 x Cups” Offical Music Video
  • Hollywood of the South
  • Feature Commentary with Director Trish Sie
  • Feature Commentary with Producers Paul Brooks & Max Handelman

 

 

 

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