Monday, June 1, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2

This is the second sequel I have seen in the last few weeks without seeing the original. Maybe seeing them in reverse order gives you a clearer picture of movies by themselves. This was a really good film. Fun? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. Funny and at times sappy? Yes... but in a good way. I am going to give this film a green light for its completely wonderful expression of love of the unaccompanied human voice. A cappella is a wonderful art that gets ribbing but should be respected for the level of difficulty in making it good. 

The Barden Bellas are at a command performance for the President at the Kennedy center.  A wardrobe malfunction causes the Bellas to lose their position and they are on the brink of getting shut down completely. Their only hope is to compete and win the international a cappella championships. If they win they get their standing back. If they lose they are no more.  They struggle to retain the magic in spite of their shaken confidence.

Boil it down and this is a film about a group of friends, or sisters rather, in a sorority setting. The relationships and camaraderie makes the emotional connection to the group feel real. Without having anything from the original to go off of I get the feeling that this does show the progression of the characters. They are graduating and on the cusp of confronting reality but knowing they are ready and they will not face life alone. They have their group of friends to help them.

The other theme of the movie was the loss of confidence and struggling to retain your identity. I liked the fact that the Bella's needed to re-find themselves. The competitors Das Sound Machine, the German team, were flashy and great performers but the Belles were more pure and way more talented. This is a great metaphor for life. It's easy to get lost in the flash of someone else's performance but you can't copy them. You have to be true to your own art and talent.

Director Elizabeth Banks has a good sense of comedic timing--adding just the right touch of adult humor without beating it like a drum. Many filmmakers can't find that good balance. She understands that you can hit a good double entendre and walk away: those who are bright enough and quick enough can catch will appreciate it. She provides a comedic smorgasbord with something for everyone.

Anna Kendrick continues to delight as the adorkable Beca. Her natural charm on the screen adds a layer of reality to her performances. It's the humanity she adds to the character that elevates her performance from acting to performing.  She doesn't need any butt confidence she is a super star.

One of my favorite scenes was the underground a cappella sing off.  That could be a freaking game show. I would watch the hell of that if it was on TV. It would be much better than any of the reality singing competitions.  Five teams enter and one team leaves with massive bragging rights and a gift card to Dave and Busters.

Did you see the first one? Did Pitch Perfect 2 hit the right notes? 

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