Movie Reviews

Pitch Perfect Series (2012-2017) Review

Let’s get acquainted with the Pitch Perfect series!

Pitch Perfect

Synopsis: Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. (IMDB)

Starring: Anna KendrickBrittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson

Writer: Kay Cannon

Director: Jason Moore

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 112mins

Trailer: 

So this is how it started. For those who still don’t know the story, it wasn’t exactly the most original but that was probably the point here. The Barden Bellas are an all-girl singing group from Barden University that have hit rock bottom in their fight for acceptance amongst their acapella peers. Things begin to change once a freshman named Beca (Kendrick) begrudgingly joins the group. From there, the film acted as a coming of age story for Beca who had to learn to come out of her shell and make friends (and we all know she did) and the Bellas to a lesser extent.

Through Beca, the story took the viewer on a journey through the world of acapella and acapella groups but it would have been nice to spend a bit more time there. The film featured quite a few groups but their main competition was an all-male group called the Trebblemakers who were led by the arrogant Bumper (Adam Devine). What held the Bellas back was their stubborn leader Aubrey (Anna Camp). Despite not finding any success, her belief in what she believed to be a winning game plan never wavered. Something had to change so of course it was only a matter of time until it did (and the rest was history and 2 more films).

For a film about singing, it was well done for the most part and all the musical performances were somewhat fun to watch despite feeling a little too overproduced. The film featured a considerable amount of comedy, beit from Bella member Fat Amy (Wilson) or from a pair of commentators named Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) with most of it missing the target mostly due to cheesy dialogue. The best part of the film by far was the camaraderie between the Bellas. The material may not have been original but they were still fun to watch as the girls had great chemistry with one another.

The best part of the film was the camaraderie but it wouldn’t have happened if not for the performances and the chemistry between one another. There were quite a few members with each filling all the demographics with the only ones who mattered being Beca, Fat Amy, Aubrey, and Chloe (Snow). Kendrick was likable as Beca even though there wasn’t much to her character and the role never really demanded much from her. Camp and Snow were good, however, Wilson was not funny at all as Fat Amy whose only purpose was to be a walking fat joke.

Overall, this was a decent film and an unoriginal coming of age story with some decent musical performances and fun camaraderie.

Score: 7/10


Pitch Perfect 2

Synopsis: After a humiliating commando performance at The Kennedy Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform. (IMDB)

Starring: Anna KendrickRebel Wilson, and Hailee Steinfeld

Writer: Kay Cannon

Director: Elizabeth Banks

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 115mins

Trailer: 

When compared to the original, this sequel was not all that different story wise. The Bellas must overcome adversity once again on their way back to the top. The original’s story may not have been the most original but the best part of the original was the camaraderie between the Bellas. What this film does different from the original was that it took this camaraderie and went further with it focusing more on them, making it a slightly more fun watch.

In order to get back to the top, the Bellas would have to work together but that would prove to be easier said than done as they had to face an intimidating acapella team from Germany called Das Sound Machine led by Pieter Krämer (Flula Borg). They did not have to do it alone, however, as they were joined by a new member named Emily (Steinfeld) who was the daughter of a former Bella. Through her, we get to learn a little Bella history thus affecting Emily’s expectations and making her initiation more interesting than Beca’s (Kendrick).

The Bellas were having the time of their lives together but it wasn’t going to last forever and that sudden realization struck them as most on were on the verge of graduation and may have to go their separate ways. Before that, they had a World Championship to win. They came together of course, after a few detours along the way, ending with a memorable finale.

The singing, while still feeling overproduced, was more entertaining to watch this time around. The setlist was better and the performances reflected the growth of the Bellas as a group. The comedy was better as well with the commentators, Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins), leading the way with better banter. However, there were still a few sore spots with Fat Amy (Wilson) still being Fat Amy and a Bella from Guatemala making remarks about her rough upbringing.

The acting and the chemistry between the Bellas were solid once again with Kendrick and Steinfeld being the standouts as Beca and Emily were the only characters who really mattered. Kendrick as Beca could never not be likable and used this to her advantage, just doing enough to get by. Steinfeld brought energy as Emily and her enthusiasm was infectious but it could be argued that she overacted it. Wilson continued to not be funny although there was less of her here.

Overall, this sequel may tread familiar ground but is ultimately a slight improvement over the original with better music, funnier humor, and a better sense of camaraderie.

Score: 7.5/10


Pitch Perfect 3

Synopsis: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices. (IMDB)

Starring: Anna KendrickRebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow

Writers: Kay Cannon and Mike White

Director: Trish Sie

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 93mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Pitch Perfect 3 on movietimes.com.

So here we go again. While the series could have ended with the second film, we are back for another Bella adventure. Just like the second film was the same as the first, this third entry was also the same as the second which was the same as the first. In most cases, this could be fine although in this case, it just felt a little redundant. The series has always been about family and sisterhood but this entry didn’t appear as concerned about furthering this message, arguably working to undo it, or even keeping up with its characters this time around.

There was still some camaraderie but the main difference between this film and the previous two was that this time there wasn’t any real adversity in which the Bellas had to overcome or any stakes. They still had to compete to headline for DJ Khaled for a major televised show while on tour with the USO with the same detours along the way. One of those detours, for some inexplicable reason (maybe because of the lack of ideas at this point), included an action sequence involving Fat Amy (Wilson) taking on a crime syndicate run by her deadbeat father Fergus (John Lithgow) to save the Bellas after they get abducted. The problem with this was that it didn’t fit with the rest of the film at all and took up a lot of time from what was already a short film, clocking in at just over 90 minutes.

While the writing improved in the second film, this new entry somewhat regresses as the script just felt lazy this time around, despite a few instances of self-aware humor, the dialog was mediocre at best with lots of stupid humor and lame slapstick gags throughout. Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) were also back for no better reason than to provide their own commentary while making a documentary about the Bellas but their humor wasn’t funny and came off as lazy as well. There was also more Fat Amy here than the previous two films which still didn’t make her funny and the Guatemalan Bella was back too, however, her one-liners were better.

There may not have been as many performances compared to the previous two films but the ones here were the only thing going for it. They were fun to watch and the addition of other groups with instruments including a band called Evermoist (you can believe that there was a joke about that), a country band, and a rapping/DJ combo made an interesting dynamic. The problem was that we barely got to see any of them in action.

The acting was still decent this time around with the Bellas and their chemistry still being the best part of the film, however they all seemed disinterested here. Kendrick as Beca continued to do just enough, relying on her natural likability. Wilson is still wasn’t funny as Fat Amy and the increased focus on her character here just made her worse, often bordering on cringeworthy. Lithgow and his Australian accent were embarrassing to watch.

Overall, this was a disappointing and unnecessary finale, working against the message and the character development from the first two films and choosing to tell a lazy and incoherent derivative story.

Score: 5.5/10

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