Pitch Perfect was the little film that could when it first acca-burst onto our screens back in 2012 becoming an instant favourite for many people, because of this it somehow managed to spawn a sequel that, whilst not topping the heights of the first, managed to a be good enough excuse to get the third film green lit and round the trilogy off.
The third instalment in the Pitch Trilogy is an unusual beast. It seems that the people behind it quite early on came to the realisation that they could not make another film like the two previous instalments, mainly because in all honesty it would have been boring to watch, and so this film starts with a bang!
As the final credits rolled I could not help but compare PP3 to the Fast and Furious franchise mainly due to how far removed certain events within this film are from the original. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed how ridiculous certain parts of this was (the entire third act is just exquisite) I can see why other reviewers have given this film such a poor rating.
The inclusion of such explosive events is an obvious sign that the creators are aware of the aforementioned worry of treading familiar ground. This is easily seen with how the staples of the Pitch Trilogy are treated. When the inevitable competition aspect, riff-off, and comment on lack of musical instruments within an A Capella group appear within the film, it as more of a comment on the state of A Capella compared to the rest of the music industry rather than as a plot point. Long story short, how does an A Capella group cope when faced with ‘normal’ artists.
But despite all of the well covered music and perfected dance routines the Pitch Trilogy has always been about the women within the Bellas, a point that is emphasised within this film by the sheer lack of established male characters. Reduced from main ‘antagonists’ in the first films to simple bit parts in the second, the male characters of Jesse and Bumper are non-existent within this film, explained away in a single piece of dialogue and then not mentioned again. Despite being overly happy about this – although I was upset not to learn anything of Benjie AKA the best character in the whole damn trilogy – this did lead to a somewhat boring plot thread that did not need to be present.
With no established males I was hoping to finally have a definitive answer to the whole Chloe / Becca thing that has been teased relentlessly since the first film. Having such prominent characters come out as Bi/Gay would have been an incredible step towards representation (I know there are LGBT characters within the Bellas but they are supporting and not MAIN characters), yet this film does more harm to this idea than good by having Chloe go off on a subplot of trying to attract a male character. In doing so she falls into the mould of a stereotypical blonde, bumbling her words and losing all sense of intelligence when she is around said character. They also bring in a possible new love interest for Becca who THANKFULLY does not reciprocate any feelings towards this new male suitor. Becca notices his advances (“There was so much eye contact”) but actively avoids any romantic moves towards him, going so far as to politely turn him down in the closing minutes of the film. This is thanks to Anna Kendrick, the actress behind Becca, as it was originally scripted for them to get together until Anna said she didn’t want that for her character.
This film has been described as having lost the heart of the previous two iterations and, to some extent, that is true. Despite going in hard on the idea of ‘the family you choose’ there are few scenes that show the bonding between the girls that we have seen in the other two films, it is only in the closing song that it is really properly shown. However here it is done to perfection with a song choice and direction matched perfectly to show the progression of Becca’s character as she steps out of the shadow she had subscribed herself to for most of her life. I will admit there was a tear in my eye.
Now the main contention that I believe a lot of people have with this film, and something I briefly touched upon earlier, is the third act. For me personally it was one of the highlights of the entire franchise as we see Fat Amy show off an impressive set of skills oft hinted at in her more unscripted rants. The scenes are brilliant as it gives an actress/character who would normally never be given such scenes the chance to do something brilliant to hilarious effect. However it is so out of left field, seeming almost out of place for the story and so far removed from the humble roots of the first film, yet this is partly the reason I love it. The creators and all those involved knew they had a struggle ahead of them when coming up with a third instalment to a series that, in all honesty, should not work so well as it does. So rather than playing it safe they decided to throw all caution to the wind and just have a bloody awesome time.
As with most trilogies this is being treated as the final film in the saga of the Bellas, with every major character getting an explanation as to whats next or an epilogue shot tying up character arcs that have been present throughout. It was a nice moment as many of the characters end up moving on from the world of A Cappella, something that struck me as unbelievably truthful after some of the more zany aspects of the film. With some opening their own business, or grabbing opportunities that are presented to them, to being unemployed with little idea of what to do, to starting families, the Bellas that we have loved for the last several years are grown up and moving on, giving us a more realistic view of what it can be like in your mid to late twenties. I have not seen this often enough in mainstream Hollywood (the idea that not everything is picture postcard perfect dream job by the end) and I was happy for its inclusion.
If you go into this film expecting an updated version of the first film then you are going to be disappointed. If you go into this film looking for a good time with loveable characters and a third act that is more female empowering that Wonder Woman then you will love this.
I am sad to see the franchise end but, in all honesty, I cannot see where else they could go with it. Even the Fast and Furious films, like all franchises that tend to go on for too long, are contemplating having their characters go to space…although saying that, In Space can anyone hear you form twelve part harmonies?
Watch again? – Definitely a film that I will put on when in need of cheering up.
Buy on Dvd/Blu Ray – Probably not, although I will not say no to someone getting it for me.