If you’re surprised the PITCH PERFECT franchise managed to make it to three films, you’re not alone. The first film was surprisingly enjoyable and became a hit, but it didn’t exactly scream sequel. But the second film nearly tripled the box office haul of the first and so of course we got a third film. But with $60 million less than PITCH PERFECT 2, it’s clear PITCH PERFECT 3 marks the end of a franchise that is constantly better than it should be. PITCH PERFECT 3 isn’t a good movie by any metric, but it’s surprisingly enjoyable in that guilty-pleasure kind of way.
We pick up with the Bellas a few years after the events of the second film and each of them have their own version of failure in the real world. Beca (Kendrick) is now a music producer, but she hates her job and after a confrontation with an artist, she quits her job. The other Bellas have similar stories and after a pseudo-reunion, the group decides to use Aubrey’s (Anna Camp) connections to be a part of a USO tour. Of course, the tour turns into a competition as the three bands are vying for the attention of DJ Khaled, who is going to pick one of the bands to be his opening act. Throw in a couple of romances and a side story involving Fat Amy’s (Wilson) criminal father and you have a third film that feels like it wants the franchise to end almost as much as we do.
It’s hard to find an excuse for non students to enter singing competitions and credit Kay Cannon and Mike White for coming up with the USO thing because it was a perfect excuse to utilize exotic international locations and fun outfits for the stars. The rest of the plot details are lazy and poorly developed, but none of that matters because director Trish Sie keeps things moving quickly, never giving the audience a chance to question the ridiculousness of what’s happening onscreen. And if she ran into a point that didn’t make sense, she would dazzle us with a musical performance and we’d quickly forget. Basically, she used some of the tactics that action movies have been using for years and to a degree, it worked. I probably like the PITCH PERFECT franchise more than most guys, but I appreciate that the film never took itself too seriously and everyone involved clearly knew they weren’t making CITIZEN KANE. This was an excuse to get the girls back together and sing a few songs to say goodbye to the franchise and for what it is, it works.
It took ‘Glee’ a couple of seasons before they realized you can’t build an entire show around actors covering famous songs, but I think PITCH PERFECT figured that out after one movie. It’s a credit to the filmmakers that they managed to make two more somewhat enjoyable movies revolving around a female a cappella group. The third movie goes off the rails a little bit, incorporating extravagant international settings and a weird kidnapping subplot, but it manages to be fun in spite itself. Anna Kendrick is insanely charming and Rebel Wilson throws enough jokes at the screen that some of them are bound to land. If you enjoyed the first two, there’s no reason to believe the third one won’t also be enjoyable.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: There’s a lot to like about this 2K upscale, even if it isn’t always obvious. Colors are bright and vibrant and thanks to the bright settings, you can see them come to life at various points in the film. The scene that stood out to me was when the camera zoomed in during one of the night performances of the group (in Spain, I believe). The lights around the stage and the stage itself burst with colors and clarity that just wasn’t evident on the Blu-ray. This is the kind of movie that really shows off the new format since it’s ripe with bright colors but not dominant with a single color. Overall, this is a surprisingly nice looking 4K.
Audio: The same DTS-X track from the Blu-ray is included here and it sounds wonderful.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no special features exclusive to the 4K, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Trish Sie: Trish is very passionate about the film and offers a great commentary into every aspect of the production. I enjoyed listening to her talk about the film and I found her very engaging.
Commentary with Paul Brooks and Max Handelman: The producers talk more about the high level aspects of making the film and there’s some overlapping insights compared to Trish Sie’s commentary.
Featurettes (32:55): 9 really short featurettes are included and although some of them have some fun moments, it would have been nicer to have one longer featurette. I did enjoy the fact that no one takes themselves to seriously here and it looks like they had a good time making the movie.
Deleted Scene and Additional Musical Performances
Extended Musical Performances