It’s nearly Christmas, a time for all things sugary and nice. But, in the world of film, not everything would make it onto Santa’s list. The next few days will see Impact Film & TV look at the good and the bad of popular franchises. Enjoy!
Pitch Perfect and its sequel tried – and mostly succeeded – in making acapella groups look awesome. With a fantastic lead cast including Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilsons, the original Pitch Perfect was a toe-tapping blast of a musical comedy, Pitch Perfect 2 was… aca-awful.
Naughty- Pitch Perfect 2
The 2015 sequel to the surprise hit of 2012 had large shoes to fill – and it just didn’t. Lacking a lot of the big numbers that made the first one such a success, instead of giving fantastic covers of some of the year’s best songs, we get a film that focuses on the boring Emily (Hailee Steinfield) and her mediocre ‘Flashlight’. Some of the best moments are when the film tries to increase the scale of its predecessor’s most memorable sequences (the riff off and cup song spring to mind). However, the riff off lacks the heart of the first – seemingly shoehorned in just for the sake of it – and the cup song – 3 years after Pitch Perfect made it a hit – seems like pure fan service. The second seems desperate to imitate its original – but it’s a poor copy.
Pitch Perfect 2’s biggest sin is perhaps what it does with its main cast. In the original, Anna Kendrick proved that she could easily carry the film, helped by Rebel Wilson’s gag-filled performance. However, during the sequel, both are side-lined in what should be their movie. Kendrick is sent on a sub-plot involving a music producer job interview, which culminates in a sub-par Snoop Dog cameo and horrifically bad Christmas song. Meanwhile, ‘Fat Amy’ spends her time in a soap opera ‘will they/wont they’ with Bumper (Adam DeVine), which ultimately no one really cares about.
Dishwater-dull Emily and ‘Flo’ are the main additions to the original cast – one adds little, the other even less. She is simply another Lilly- there to make entirely random and bizarre comments whenever there hasn’t been a laugh for a while. Entirely aca-forgettable.
Nice – Pitch Perfect
The Barden Bellas were the acapella sensation in the closing months of 2011. From the gross projectile-vomiting start to the huge aca-awesome hit-packed finale, Pitch Perfect was a belting success. Not since School of Rock has a musical comedy worked SO well – Pitch Perfect is a pleasure to watch. The transformation of the Bellas from the bland air-stewardesses of the opening number, to the slick, modern team of the finale, is a fantastic journey, full of great songs and laugh-out-loud jokes. Each member of the team has their moment, and the unit develops organically as the movie progresses. Kendrick and Wilson are – as stated before – fantastic, and ‘Fat Amy’ is nothing short of hilarious.
There are a number of fantastic moments throughout the film, and audiences will be dying to relive them on Spoitfy and Youtube. However, for me, nothing can quite top the riff off. As an idea, set in an abandoned swimming pool, the riff off is lot of fun, allowing for an even greater range of songs to be introduced, and I just wish it could have gone on for longer.
Pitch Perfect showed the world how to deliver a musical comedy, but its sequel came out feeling flat. Let’s hope Part 3 will deliver to the aca-awesomeness of the original.
Images sourced from Pitch Perfect, Universal Pictures, and Pitch Perfect 2, Universal Pictures.