Pitch Perfect (2012, Moore) & Pitch Perfect 2 (2015, Banks)
We can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night, if your plans call for staying in and getting cozy on a winter evening, than inviting the Barton Bellas into your home. Even if you have seen either or both, they are worth another look just because they are so much fun.
Of the two, we prefer the original. There’s less flash in the original, less of a sense the filmmakers are reaching for more by exaggerating, amplifying, and, unfortunately, thinning what attracted us to the first, its heart. Though, don’t get us wrong, Pitch Perfect 2 holds up pretty well. And with a built-in franchise that wanted a follow-up, it proved a box office smash, grossing more than double the first, enough to make it the current best grossing musical comedy.
The premises of both films are simple. In Pitch Perfect, the Barton Bellas find themselves in a rut. They need a new, modern approach, and a renewed spirit. Beta Mitchell (Anna Kendrick, who cut her teeth in musical theater before becoming a film star) appears on the scene to provide the lift the a cappella squad needs. In Pitch Perfect 2, the Bellas, three years later, are performing at the top of their game, perhaps too much so, forgetting their roots. A wardrobe malfunction while performing for the president cause them to be banned from the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. However, Beca strikes a deal in which if they win the World Championship of A Cappella they will be reinstated. A legacy, Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfield) joins up and brings that old spirit with her. Needless to say how everything turns out, because either you intuit it, know it, or will know it by watching the movie tonight.