Pitch Perfect 2 Off Key
by Hana Tatsutani on Friday, June 5th, 2015
On May 15th Pitch Perfect 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect, hit theatres. The movie attracted huge audiences, beating out all of its competitors at the box office with a $70.3 million debut in the United States alone. It is no surprise that Pitch Perfect 2 reeled in so many viewers given the previous success of Pitch Perfect, which parodied America’s slowly growing obsession with a capella.
Pitch Perfect 2 follows the fictional Barden Bellas, Barden College’s all-female acapella group, three years after the original movie. After an embarrassing incident while performing in front of the president, the Bellas are suspended from participating in any a capella competition. Their one chance to get the suspension lifted is to win the A Capella World Championship, a feat that no American team has ever achieved. The movie follows the group’s preparation for the tournament, as well as the endeavors of the protagonist, Becca (portrayed by Anna Kendrick), to begin her career in anticipation of graduating from Barden College. While the core cast remains the same as the first movie, Pitch Perfect 2 introduces a new antagonist, Das Sound Machine, a German a cappella group, as well as a new protagonist, Emily Junk, (played by Hailee Steinfeld).
Pitch Perfect 2 grossed an impressive $190.3 million worldwide in just 12 days, surpassing its predecessor, which premiered in September 2012 and earned $115.4 million at the box office. The movie has been met with mostly positive feedback, scoring a 67% critic rating and a 75% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A couple members of the Milton community, however, were less enthusiastic. Sienna Nagel-Thompson (III) thinks that the movie “was definitely funny at parts, but tried really hard to be the pop culture classic that the last one was, and failed. A lot of the jokes just felt forced and it kept running with things too long.”
Thea McRae (III) agrees that “there were definitely good moments, but it was just trying really hard.” All in all, she says, “it’s one of those movies that’s stupid, but you enjoy it.”
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable scenes of the movie is the “riff-off” scene in which the different acapella groups spontaneously burst into songs that have overlap with the lyrics of the song currently being sung. Although these musical battles are fun to watch, it is hard to believe that the arrangements could really be improvised so quickly and smoothly in real life.
Mr. Whalen, the director of one of Milton’s own a cappella groups, the Miltones, claims that this type of improvisation could actually be possible for a college level a cappella group. He mentions, “I heard one professional group that used to, in their shows, ask for requests, and they would then, if they knew the song, just start and pretty much improvise it on the spot, but that’s at a really high level. It depends how tough the song is and how well everyone knows it.” According to Mr. Whalen, the complexity and choreography of the numbers in the show would not be improbable for a competitive collegiate a capella group. Overall, although the music in Pitch Perfect 2 may be a bit more polished than that of your typical college group, it is not entirely inaccurate.
Pitch Perfect 2 might not quite live up to the expectations set by Pitch Perfect, however if you are looking for a fun, feel-good movie to watch this summer, it will certainly measure up.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7177