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Elizabeth Banks
Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld
Writing Credits:
Kay Cannon

After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln 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.

Box Office:
$29 million.
Opening Weekend:
$70,300,000 on 3,473 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 115 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 9/22/2015

• Audio Commentary with Actor/Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producers Paul Brooks and Max Handelman
• Bonus Song
• Extended Musical Performances
• Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown
• Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Line-Aca-Rama
• Green Bay Rap
• Nine Featurettes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Pitch Perfect 2 [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2015)

With a US gross of about $64 million, 2012’s Pitch Perfect didn’t become a box office smash. However, with a low budget, it turned a profit, and the movie enjoyed a nice afterlife as a popular home video title.

This led to 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2, a flick that does qualify as a box office hit. It still came with a low budget - $29 million, a moderate step up over the original’s $17 million – but it delivered exponentially higher returns. In the US, Perfect 2 snared a remarkable $183 million, nearly three times the take of its predecessor.

So this means the inevitable Pitch Perfect 3 will arrive in the near future. In Perfect 2, we meet up again with the Barden Bellas, a championship a cappella singing group. They get to perform at an event in front of President Obama and other notables, but this goes awry when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) suffers from an unfortunate “wardrobe malfunction”.

This unleashes a scandal that gets the Bellas suspended from US competitions. However, a loophole allows them to go to the world tournament where they will battle with Germany’s Das Sound Machine, the reigning champs. We follow the complications Beca (Anna Kendrick), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Fat Amy and new recruit Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) face on their path to competitive redemption.

Few would classify the first Pitch Perfect as a great film, but I think it worked better than anyone could have expected. It delivered a reasonable amount of charm and wit to become a likable, engaging little tale.

Pitch Perfect 2, on the other hand, does its best to dispel all of the goodwill engendered by its predecessor. To start, the sequel has no actual plot. Nominally, it's about the Bellas going to the world championships, but honestly, that's a MacGuffin of sorts. It motivates some action but is ultimately meaningless, especially since we know how the event will end.

Perfect 2 offers some laughs for the first 20 minutes or so, but then two problems emerge. One stems from the aforementioned lack of narrative and character development. The movie includes plot points but no real movement. We get bits and pieces of various personalities, but unlike the first movie - which had a real beginning, middle and end - this one just throws out various character elements without focus. It all feels gratuitous and half-hearted.

The other problem is that the comedy gets stale and predictable as it goes. The jokes all feel the same and it becomes repetitive. I stopped being amused by the "witty asides" and started to be annoyed.

Even when Perfect 2 manages humor, it doesn’t know when to quit. For instance, after their scandalous performance, the Bellas receive hate mail, and one of the missives comes signed “Sonia Sotomayor”. That’s actually kind of funny, but then the flick throws out Fat Amy’s referral to Sotomayor as a “judgy bitch”.

That’s unnecessary. Anyone who gets the joke doesn’t need the allusion to Sotomayor’s gig as a Supreme Court justice, so for those people, the crack becomes redundant. Anyone who doesn’t know who Sotomayor is won’t be helped by the added line, and that’s not the only time the filmmakers don’t know to leave well enough alone.

Entire sections of the movie exist just because someone thought they'd be fun, such as the weird "secret lair" sing-off hosted by the David Cross character. That scene goes on forever and does nothing to advance the "plot".

Which describes the whole movie in a nutshell: scenes that someone thought would be hilarious cobbled into a messy whole. Pitch Perfect 2 maintains some entertainment value for a brief period but it soon becomes predictable and stale. Maybe Pitch Perfect 3 will return to the charm of the original, but the first sequel disappoints.

Footnote: stick around through the credits to see Bumper’s performing future.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Pitch Perfect 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a quality presentation.

Sharpness was fine. A handful of wider shots could be a little tentative, but those remained in the minority, as most of the flick appeared concise and accurate. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t occur, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to present any problems, as the movie offered a clean image.

In terms of colors, the film favored a mild golden tint or a blue feel. These were light overtones, so the hues were solid within the design parameters. Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were good. I thought this was a consistently high-quality presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed satisfactory. It favored the usual “comedy mix” and didn’t present many chances for the soundscape to explode. As expected, musical performances added the most to the track, as they used the five channels in a satisfying manner. Parties also provided some modest engagement. Overall, though, this was a pretty restrained soundfield.

I thought audio quality appeared positive. Speech seemed distinctive and natural, with no rough tones or other issues. Score and songs displayed clear, warm music, and effects functioned well. Those elements were reasonably realistic and full throughout the movie. Again, nothing here dazzled, but the mix accentuated the action in a good way.

As we move to the extras, we open with an audio commentary from actor/director/producer Elizabeth Banks and producers Paul Brooks and Max Handelman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, musical numbers, deleted scenes, sets and locations, and related topics.

Expect a competent commentary here but nothing more. At best, the participants offer a likable chat that delivers a decent level of information about the film. However, the track lapses into a fair amount of praise and doesn’t really become absorbing. It’s worth a listen but not especially memorable.

A bunch of musical elements show up as well. We find a bonus song performed by the Treblemakers (3:27) along with three extended musical performances (4:05), Das Sound Machine finale breakdown (2:06) and Green Bay Rap (0:52). With the “bonus song”, we find some notes from vocal producer Deke Sharon and actors Skylar Astin and Ben Platt before we see the scene itself.

The “extended performances” focus just on the clips themselves, and “Green Bay” gives us a more impromptu bit that mixes members of Das Sound Machine as well. Finally, “Breakdown” lets us see the DSM finale via four different audio options: “All Vocals”, “Background Vocals Only”, “Beat Box Only” and “Lead Vocals Only”. Fans will enjoy all of these, but the “DSM Breakdown” is the most interesting since it allows us to hear isolated vocal elements.

Nine deleted/extended/alternate scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 14 seconds. These tend to be insubstantial moments that don’t add more than a few gags. Some supporting characters get a little more screen time, but none of the scenes seem memorable.

A Gag Reel lasts three minutes, eight seconds. This provides standard goofing around and silliness. It’s forgettable.

More alternate material shows up in the three-minute, 36-second Line-Aca-Rama. This gives us different lines for a bunch of scenes. Some amusing material results.

Nine featurettes follow. We get “Elizabeth Banks’ Directorial Debut” (5:20), “The Bellas Are Back” (6:13), “Aca Camp” (5:04), “The Making of the Riff-Off” (6:02), “The World Championships of A Cappella” (9:30), “Snoop Is In the House” (2:53), “Residual Heat Internship” (2:26), “An Aca-Love Story: Bumper and Fat Amy” (5:26) and “Legacy: Hailee Steinfeld” (6:04).

Across these, we find notes from Banks, Platt, Astin, Handelman, Sharon, choreographer Aakomon “AJ” Jones, production designer Toby Corbett, costume designer Salvador Perez, first assistant choreographer Kyndra Reevey, and actors Brittany Snow, Kelley Jakle, Rebel Wilson, Flula Borg, Hailee Steinfeld, Shelley Regner, Chrissie Fit, Anna Kendrick, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Anna Camp, Clay Matthews, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Kether Donohue, Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg, and Adam Devine. We learn about Banks’ work on the set, cast and performances, music, costumes and choreography, and story/character areas.

A fluffy movie provides fluffy featurettes. I like the ample amounts of behind the scenes footage on display, but we don’t really learn a lot about the production. While we find a smattering of good notes, much of the time, matters remain superficial.

The disc opens with ads for the Back to the Future trilogy, Furious 7, When Marnie Was There, Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals, Blindspot Dope and RL Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls. No trailer for Perfect 2 appears here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Perfect 2. It includes the commentary as well as the extended musical performances, the deleted scenes, the gag reel, and the “Bellas Are Back” featurette.

After the first film charmed me, I hoped Pitch Perfect 2 would offer a similarly engaging comedy. Instead, I found a messy, overbaked mish-mash of random gags barely held together by the thinnest of plots. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio along with an extensive – though erratic – set of supplements. Maybe Pitch Perfect 3 will offer a rebound, but Perfect 2 brings us a grating disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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