Pitch Perfect 2 Blu-ray Review
I’ve found that the first PITCH PERFECT is a bit of a polarizing film. People either love hearing all of their favorite pop hits sung in a cappella or they just wanted to reach through the screen and slap everyone that was singing. Personally, I thought the film had a nice rhythm to it and thanks to a couple of charming performances from Kendrick and Wilson, it was an enjoyable film. I don’t know if it needed a sequel, but every studio is eager for a franchise and since the first one was successful, we were going to get a sequel whether we liked it or not. The sequel might have enough to keep the die-hard fans happy, but everyone else might be left with an empty feeling.
We open up with the Bellas performing at the Kennedy Center for the President, hot off the heels of winning three consecutive national titles. But a serious wardrobe malfunction brings the Bellas embarrassment and banishment from the a cappella league. However, since they won the national title, they’re automatically eligible to compete in the World a Cappella tournament and if they win, they’ll get reinstated. But their leader Beca (Kendrick), is more focused on a career post-graduation and the group is heavily intimidated by the German champions DSM.
The sequel introduces Emily (Steinfeld), who joins the group as a legacy because her mother was also a Bella back in the day. Emily isn’t a bad character and Steinfeld does fine with what she has, but Emily is completely unnecessary this early in the franchise. I wanted to continue following Beca because we barely scratched the surface of her story in the first film and besides, everyone loves Anna Kendrick. Emily is the type of character you throw in when your franchise is dying and you need some new blood. In other words, she would have been better served in the third or fourth film. The Emily problem goes hand in hand with the fact the film is a good 30 minutes too long. There were too many scenes that were either wasted or pointless. A movie like PITCH PERFECT 2 needs to move fast and keep things going or the audience starts to lose interest, which happened on more than one occasion.
There was plenty of singing and if you’re missing ‘Glee’ or if you couldn’t get enough of the impromptu musical numbers in the original, you’re in luck. It was amusing at times to see director Elizabeth Banks try to find excuses to get people to sing. We get a musical number from the Treblemakers during a freshman orientation which didn’t fit in with the movie at all. And although I enjoyed the staged sing-off, its very existence was ridiculous. The Bellas were supposed to go on a victory tour of sorts before they were banned and I couldn’t help but think the film would have been better following the Bellas on tour than the direction they took.
PITCH PERFECT 2 is much slower than the original and the plot doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it features plenty of singing and all of the characters return for the sequel. I’m a little disappointed more effort wasn’t put in to developing some of these characters, but the movie clearly catered to the casual fan.
Video: PITCH PERFECT 2 is another great vide transfer from Universal.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Commentary with Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks and Max Handelman: This is a surprisingly interesting commentary that has enough funny notes for casual fans and technical pointers for the film buffs.
Gag Reel (3:07): The cast and crew laugh at their flubs.
Bonus Song, Musical Performances, DSM Breakdown (9:38): I lumped these three featurettes together because they’re basically the same thing; extended or alternate musical performances. If that’s why you came to PITCH PERFECT 2, then these will be right up your alley.
Deleted Scenes (12:22): Nine scenes in total, most of which are actually alternate scenes. There’s nothing earth shattering here, but we do get some more Amy and Bumper, which was amusing at times.
Featurettes (53:26): If you’ve ever watched the special features on a kid movie, you’ve probably noticed that all of the features are very short and lighthearted in order to keep a child’s attention. For some reason, this Blu-ray follows the same formula. So there are 11 featurettes here, the longest being just under 10 minutes and the shortest being just under a minute. They cover important topics such as Snoop’s arrival on set and how they filmed the world championships in Louisiana instead of Denmark.