Ok, before I start this it’s important to note that I don’t get movies. I feel it’s important to make that clear at the beginning, and I phrase it like that because it’s not necessarily that I don’t like movies, but I just don’t get them. Very often I get bored or disinterested midway through which tends to mean that more get started than ever actually get finished. However, despite this, there are occasionally individual movies or even movie series that hold my attention and bear my re-watching.
One such series is the Pitch Perfect trilogy. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot wrong with these movies. Well, editions two and three at least. The first movie is legitimately excellent, well acted by a perfectly selected cast of actors, and the musical interludes were very well done. The second movie suffered greatly from the success of the first one as it lacked the freshness of the first movie and the story seemed a total rehash of the first, meanwhile the third one is just not as interesting a story as the first. But still I like them, I enjoy the headline cast throughout and the music is genuinely interesting. There is also something very admirable and compelling about knowing that all the music is actually being performed by the cast you see, even Hana Mae Lee who even learned how to beat box especially so she could portray the character of Lilly Onakuramara.
Here is a selection of some of my favorite musical performances in the series.
Toxic (Britney Spears, Pitch Perfect 3)
This acapella re imagining of the Britney Spear’s 2003 hit, Toxic, from the third in the series is probably the standard musical number from the movie. A prime example of the sense of imagination and vision that was present with much of the music across the series. It’s just unfortunate that it coincided with the frankly nonsensical Rebel Wilson fight sequence in the actual movie.
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Fall Out Boy, Pitch Perfect 2)
In terms of storyline, Pitch Perfect 2 was mainly criticised for being a repeat of the first movie except in a different context. The lack of a properly solid story line in the movie also meant that the finale of the movie lacked the emotional weight of first instalment in the series. The finale in Pitch Perfect had relevance and weight to the story as it marked an obvious culmination of the relationship between Anna Kendrick‘s character, Beca Mitchell, and Skylar Astin‘s character, Jesse Swanson, and their love story that had been developing throughout the movie. However, the finale by the Barden Bellas in this movie just seemed to be an attempt to make Flashlight by Hailee Steinfeld a global hit,and as a result when it eventually defeated this performance at the end of that movie it seemed contrived.
Bellas Finale: Price Tag/Don’t You (Forget About Me)(Various Artists, Pitch Perfect)
This performance is probably the reason why the first Pitch Perfect began to develop such a cult following in the years after it’s release. This is a properly brilliant conclusion to a movie as it succintly ties up all the strings that had been on the go in the film; the Barden Bellas are now a tight knit group of friends who are comfortable in with their distinct personalities, Beca is now being given a front to demonstrate and embrace her ability for mixing and production, and the love story that fueled the story reaches it’s perfect climax. But ultimately, when looking at it from a solely musical perspective, it just a well constructed performance by the cast.
Trebles Finals: Bright Lights Bigger City/Magic (Various Artists, Pitch Perfect)
You might have noticed by now that much of the songs/performances that I have selected come from the first movie, because let’s be fair, it is by far and away the best of the series. This is the equivalent performance for The Treblemakers of the one included above and again it marks a logical and clean summation of the story lines of it’s participants.
Riff Off (Pitch Perfect)
The riff off scene was one of the biggest draws in each movie, a scene where the audience was treated to the very essence of the Pitch Perfect franchise, good music and interesting arrangements. It was also one of the clearest examples of all that was wrong about the second movie, the selection of unnecessary cameos meant that it had lost the innocence and invention that had been present in the first movie. This was eventually redressed in the third movie, where the cameos fit the movie and didn’t seem unnecessary, however across the series, this is still the best riff off scene.