Saturday, February 17, 2018

'Pitch Perfect 3' Gives the Series an Adequately Pleasing Coda

Set three years after the events of the previous movie, Pitch Perfect 3 sees the Bellas now graduate from college and stressed out in their careers.  When they are given the opportunity to reunite and join a USO tour in Europe, they quickly grab it, eager to once again enjoy the experience of singing together.

Things about the premise and storyline of Pitch Perfect 3 don’t make a lot of sense.  But the movie does work for me through a “Pitch Perfect is an anime” perspective (something I alluded before in my review for Pitch Perfect 2).  Seriously, when we treat it as if it’s an anime – giving it the immediate leeway we give an anime with all its inherent absurdities and quirkiness – its dumb, implausible details are easily forgiven, and what’s unfolding is simply enjoyed.

Though Pitch Perfect 2 is favored more by the consensus of critics (65% Rotten Tomatoes score) than Pitch Perfect 3 (32% Rotten Tomatoes score), I actually think the latter is better than the former.  For me, Pitch Perfect 2 was okay, but a bit flat and pretentious at times.  Whereas, though it isn’t great, Pitch Perfect 3 is fun and sweet, all things considered.  Its sentimental themes play out organically, and the story is somewhat original – or, at least, the narrative does a lot of things differently – and the subplots are quite fine.
Moreover, its humor hits the mark more than its predecessor.  The gags featuring Fat Amy are fewer in amount, less cringy, and more cleverly executed.  It also has a couple of excellent self-aware jokes – like how the Bellas have never won a riff off, yet are fond of getting into one; and the fact that Jessica and Ashley are virtually irrelevant characters.

As for its soundtrack, it’s not particularly noteworthy.  The original movie’s soundtrack remains the standout and most memorable in the series.  However, I did enjoy the Bellas’ rendition of Britney Spear’s “Toxic”, which I wish I can see the cast perform live (that is, if the actresses really sing and mesh as impeccably as their characters).  Also, considering the military element in this film, I was expecting that they would perform Little Mix’s soldier-esque “Salute” at some point, but they didn’t.  Seriously, across three films, there has never been a chance to sing this girl-empowerment anthem?  Come on.  Considering the “girls-as-target-audiences” nature of the Pitch Perfect series, that’s one heck of a missed opportunity.

All in all, if Pitch Perfect 3 is indeed meant to be the last installment of the series, I think it’s a pretty solid one.  The series doesn’t necessarily end at a high note with it.  But it’s an adequately pleasing coda.
Frankly, though I’m not really a fan, I don’t want this movie series to end yet.  I think there’s a still a few more material they can cover.  For one, I think it’ll be quite fascinating if they take on K-pop next.  That’ll be delightfully weird, if ever.

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