Pitch Perfect 2 Review #2
Every sequel will undoubtedly invite comparison to its predecessor, and the greater the original, the more likely a sequel is to disappoint its audiences. Raised expectations are the death of any viewing experience, and most of us are more sceptical of sequels than ever (and rightly so). Let’s face it, outside of superhero franchises, sequels may as well be designed to flop. For every Dark Knight, there’s a Speed 2; Cruise Control.
Pitch Perfect didn’t warrant a follow-up by any means, but Pitch Perfect 2 will now join the ranks of one of those all too rare sequels that threaten to outshine the original. Coming from a person who routinely quotes the first Pitch Perfect in everyday conversation, this is truly an amazing feat.
I wanted nothing more than for Elizabeth Banks to nail this film and she may have single-handedly restored my faith in sequels. Pitch Perfect 2 retains all the elements of what made the original such a surprise hit; synchronised lady dancing, riff-offs, Rebel Wilson, and some truly excellent throwaway jokes, but packs twice as much heart.
It’s senior year for the Barden Bellas and after winning Nationals three years running, our favourite aca-bitches have cemented their status as collegiate acapella royalty. With their ostentatious theatrics and slicked back ponytails, our first glimpse of the Bellas is a far more polished group of ladies than we came to know in Pitch Perfect. However, any newfound class is quickly sucked out of their performance when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) gives the President (and most of America) a flash at what she has going on “down under”.
This embarrassment results in a suspension for the Bellas and their only hope of reinstatement is to win the World Championships of Acapella. The Bellas’ biggest adversary is Das Sound Machine, a frighteningly talented group of German singers that manage to reduce even the unflappable Beca (Anna Kendrick) to a slightly sexually confused mess.
Heightening the stakes for the Bellas and bringing the competition to a larger scale is the first of many smart moves Pitch Perfect 2 makes. The second is interweaving Beca’s bourgeoning career as a music producer; Keegan-Michael Key as Beca’s boss was such a genius casting move that I could have watched an entire film about Beca’s life as an intern. While Chloe (Brittany Snow) has intentionally failed Russian Literature three times to remain a Bella, Beca is frantically trying to kick-start her future, all too aware that college is almost over.
With their conflicting priorities and a new girl (Hailee Steinfeld as Emily aka “Legacy”) thrown into the mix, the Bellas are so out of sync with one another that they spend a significant portion of the film attempting to rediscover the sound that made their dynamic so special to begin with. Let me tell you, the initial discord is well-worth the payoff of their swan swang at the World Championships and the girls’ wistful rendition of ‘Cups’.
While the music may not completely live up to the high standards set by the previous film, the plot is definitely superior this time around. The Beca and Jessie (Skylar Astin) relationship takes a welcome backseat to Bumper’s hilariously sweet courtship of Fat Amy and Emily’s integration to the group. Though the romantic relationships do play an in important part in the film, the bond between each and every one of the Bellas is undeniably the beating heart of Pitch Perfect 2. As generations of Bellas shared the stage in a final performance, it made me realise how much I’m going to miss these ladies now that they’re gone.
By Tegan Lyon