PG-13 Dir: Trish Sie | Universal | 1h 33min
Plot: What’s it about?
I was always pleasantly surprised by the original Pitch Perfect. I had skipped seeing it in theaters (most likely out of disinterest), but rented it when it debuted on home video and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can come back to that film randomly and still enjoy it on repeat viewings. Since it was something of a runaway hit, we got our first sequel in 2015. While I also enjoyed that one, it was clear that a bit of the magic was lost. I think Pitch Perfect 2 just got stuck in that weird sequel limbo where it felt stuck in neutral most of the time. While Elizabeth Banks took over directing duties for the second film, she only stars here, while Trish Sie acts as director. Pitch Perfect 3 I think improves on the second chapter, but still can’t quite recapture what made the first film so much fun. I still have a soft spot for these films and the characters, so I do feel satisfied with it overall. If this is indeed the last chapter (you just never know in Hollywood), I feel that they ended things on a good note. I think anyone seeing a film called Pitch Perfect 3 will get exactly what they want from it. Let’s dive in further, shall we?
The film begins with the Belles all singing together on a yacht where they appear to be hostages. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) drops in and the action ensues. She and Becca then jump off the edge before we flashback to a couple years earlier. We pick up two years after the second film where we see that the Belles have graduated college, and trying to make it in the real world. Becca (Anna Kendrick) isn’t loving her job as a record producer, so decides to quit cold turkey one day. We learn that none of the other Belles are happy with their jobs either. Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) arranges for the Belles to sing together for an event in New York. As it turns out, it was more about Emily singing with the new Bellas instead. Emily really just wanted to see all her friends again. Aubrey (Anna Camp) then suggests that the group join a USO performance where they will try to impress DJ Khaled. There’s a subplot here involving Fat Amy’s father, played by John Lithgow. He’s never been there for her, so naturally she finds it strange that he shows up all of a sudden. This will all play into the sequence which opened the film with the girls on the yacht. Plot vignettes aside, this is mostly about seeing the Belles back together and doing what they do best: sing. It satisfies in that regard.
I admit that I have something of a soft spot for these films and the characters. For that reason, I can recommend this film, but the critic in me could really pick it apart. There’s little payoff to a lot of the characters and their individual moments. There’s also a need, it feels to get too big with this chapter. That’s not uncommon for sequels to do, but some of the stuff near the end did get a bit silly. Also, this sequel does feel a bit unnecessary at times, but I still think it ends the series on a good note. Not all of the jokes register (There were times that I just wanted Fat Amy to stop talking), but it gets enough right to make it (mostly) worthwhile. Fans of these films, such as myself will feel right at home here and will probably walk away with a grin on their face.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a mostly satisfying transfer form Universal that should come as no surprise. The 1.85:1 HEVC 4K transfer breathes a little more life into the look of the picture than the Blu-ray counterpart. There were a few issues that keep this from getting a higher score, however. A few earlier scenes displayed a big of softness and the image seemed a smeared. Thankfully, this only lasted a short while before getting back on track. Otherwise, colors are nice and vibrant, print is clean and pristine and details strong throughout. Still, no matter which format you choose, you’ll be seeing all the Bellas in their utmost HD glory.
Audio: How’s it sound?
One can only hope that a film featuring singing has a track that satisfies. This one does as it keeps us involved early on. Vocals are fine and clear throughout. The DTS X gives frequent use to all channels to fully engage the listener and, thanfully, this next generation track is found on both the Blu-ray and the Ultra HD version. Things get a bit more action oriented in the last half, so expect that to kick things up a notch as well. This track should please fans.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The DVD has a few features, but if you pony up to the Blu-ray (or 4K, in which you get the Blu-ray in the set) you get so much more of the Bellas!
- Deleted Scene
- Gag Reel
- New Musical Performances
- Fat Amy & Fergus Casino Duet
- The Bellas: “See You Smile” Lullaby
- A Cappella Action– In this piece, we break down the scene starting with Fergus betraying Fat Amy and kidnapping the Bellas, through the performance and wrapping up with Rebel Wilson as she performs the stunt of falling through the ceiling.
- The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 – With Elizabeth Banks, Trish Sie, and an all-female cast, the Pitch Perfect franchise is breaking down stereotypes and industry norms left and right. In this piece, we learn why that’s so important throughout the development and production of Pitch Perfect 3.
- The Final Performance– In this heart-warming piece, fans will witness the genuine love and sisterhood between the Bellas both on and off camera as they get a behind-the-scenes look at the emotional wrap of the film and production.
- Hollywood of the South– Hollywood may be the “Entertainment Capital of the World” but Atlanta is a close second – morphing into a metropolis for film productions and the cast and crews couldn’t be happier. We hear from them about the hospitality, versatility and southern welcome they experienced during their stay.
- Extended Musical Performances
- Evermoist: “How a Heart Unbreaks”
- Young Sparrow / DJ Dragon Nutz: “You Got It”
- Saddle Up: “Ex’s and Oh’s”
- Competition Crescendo – In this featurette we break down the riff-off scene, starting in pre-production in the recording studio and moving into production. We’ll also discuss the Bellas’ competition: EverMoist, Saddle Up, DJ Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz.
- Don’t Mess with Rebel – Rebel Wilson trained with stunts coordinator, Jennifer Badger, to prefect her many stunts that we see throughout the film. In this featurette, we’ll catch a glimpse of Rebel’s training and discuss the most bad-ass stunt of all – Rebel taking down four grown men in order to save the Bellas.
- The Headliner: DJ Khaled – We check in with cast and filmmakers to hear their reactions on the music producer/personality being brought on, how he fits into the story and the love he has for the Bellas.
- The Final Note: John and Gail – Everyone’s favorite Talk-a-pella podcasters are back, combining their resources to produce an exclusive d’aca’mentary following the beloved classic Bellas. We discuss their far-fetched endeavor with the cast and filmmakers to better understand our favorite aca-duo.
- Just Because He’s a Bad Guy – The cast and filmmakers were overjoyed to learn that legendary actor, John Lithgow was joining the Pitch Perfect family, and he did not disappoint! In this piece, we’ll witness how Rebel and John are two peas in a pod, making their on-screen chemistry as father and daughter truly sincere.
- Music Video – “Freedom! ’90 x Cups”
The Bottom Line
It was torn up by critics when it debuted in theaters, but I still think the fans will enjoy this one. It marks an improvement over the second film even if it can’t quite capture the magic of the first. As a critic, I could pick the film apart, but I’m such a fan of these characters that I can forgive some flaws. The film is fun and should please fans who’ve stuck around this long. Recommended.