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Movie Review: “Pitch Perfect 3”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Pitch Perfect 3

Theatrical Release: 12/22/2017

Theatrical Release: 12/22/2017

Synopsis

With Beca (Anna Kendrick) having just quit her job, Amy (Rebel Wilson) reminds her that the current Bellas have asked the former Bellas to join them for a reunion night. At the event, Beca and Amy are reunited with the rest of their former group, where each member is stressed out about their lives in one way or another. Each member of the former Bellas miss the good old days of performing together and are thrilled to be back together again. Aubrey (Anna Camp) tells the group that DJ Khalid is hosting a USO tour. He has invited a few groups to perform, and at the end of the tour, DJ Khalid will choose one group to open for him on his worldwide tour.

Aubrey also tells the group that her father—a high ranking military official—can get them into the competition. The group leaps at the opportunity, so they go overseas to perform as the Bellas once again. They are excited, but this is the first time they will have to compete against bands with real instruments and it will surely be their toughest challenge yet. The Bellas are back and they are more motivated than ever, but trouble has found its way to their doorstep. A mysterious man (John Lithgow) stalks the Bellas in an attempt to reunite with one of the Bellas, and with that reunion, chaos will surely follow.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Rebel Wilson & John Lithgow (+6pts)

Generic (-4pts)

The Music & Anna Kendrick (+5pts)

The Competition (-4pts)

The Commentators (+3pts)

The Action (-2pts)

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Pro: Rebel Wilson & John Lithgow (+6pts)

I am a huge fan of John Lithgow, and Rebel Wilson has proven herself as the most entertaining character in this franchise. I enjoyed watching their relationship together, although to be honest, Rebel Wilson did a lot of the heavy lifting here. She found great success in playing the comedic relief of the first two movies in this franchise, and this movie was no different. Her delivery and comedic timing makes this character a joy to watch, and I enjoyed seeing how the addition of John Lithgow flipped her character's world upside down.

John Lithgow played a great side character in this movie. He did not get a lot to do, but his charisma gave the character a great screen presence. He was funny, but he was able to switch between tones naturally. This story required this character to be comedic and dramatic, while also being a fitting action-movie character. John Lithgow balanced it all very naturally. He was a lot of fun to watch whenever he was on screen, and he never took focus away from other characters. John Lithgow is an extremely talented actor that can flawlessly play a wide variety of different roles, and this movie was further proof of that.

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Con: Generic (-4pts)

I liked this movie, but I felt like it suffered from sequel-itis. It followed the same format as the previous two movies, but it struggled to bring new things to the table. The first example of this was the competition, but I will get into that a little later, as it was deserving of its own section in this review. The second example was that the filmmakers introduced a handful of new characters, but all of them feel shallow, stale, or generic. They threw in potential love interests for a few of the girls, but none had any chemistry with each other, so they all ended up being very forgettable.

Unfortunately, the plot of the movie was just as generic as the new characters. The filmmakers really did not do anything with this plot that has not been done before. It was like the filmmakers took a “Pitch Perfect script template”, then injected a few new things and characters without developing or exploring any of them. The result was a movie that felt like a decent first draft of what this movie should have been, but the filmmakers never went back to refine it.

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Pro: The Music & Anna Kendrick (+5pts)

Anna Kendrick will not be blowing anyone’s mind with this movie, but she once again nailed a character that audiences can relate to easily. Rebel Wilson is an essential part of these movies because she is a reliable comedic relief. Anna Kendrick is essential because she pulls audiences into the story as a relatable protagonist. She always just plays Anna Kendrick, and this movie was no different, but that worked for this movie.

The music was also just as fun as it was in the previous movies. It was not anything special, but it was what fans of these movies will want to see. Some songs were fun and energetic, others were your typical ballads that were meant to show off Beca's talent. I did not think Beca's performances were enough to explain how talented others thought she was, but they were fine for what they were. The music in this movie was nothing special. It was more of the same from this franchise, but it was exactly what fans of this franchise will be hoping to hear, and in that respect, the music worked.

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Con: The Competition (-4pts)

The competition was definitely one of the strongest and most effective elements of the last two movies. For this movie, it was one of the weakest. It felt generic and bland, as if the filmmakers just slapped together a random competition and decided they did not need to give it any real focus. There was a competition, of sorts, but it lacked any suspense. This time around, the Bellas were performing against groups of various genres and styles. The opposing groups had guitars, drums, and one even had a DJ. This could have been the most compelling competition of the three movies, but the filmmakers of Pitch Perfect 3 failed to give its competition proper focus.

The filmmakers hardly focused on the competition at all, and when they, the filmmakers seemed more concerned with the backstage rivalries than with the actual performances. We could have seen a movie where the Bellas were challenged with having to compete against instruments, and needed to practice hard and think outside the box in order to win. Instead the filmmakers gave us plenty of backstage juvenile rivalries that audiences will not care about. They also had the Bellas simply do what they always do. Instead of having the Bellas face a challenge and overcome it, they had the Bellas do what they normally do and fail, then they had the Bellas do what they normally do and succeed. This took all of the stakes out of what was happening, because the competition felt arbitrary, and the winners did not feel like they earned it.

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Pro: The Commentators (+3pts)

I am not sure if everyone feels the same way about these characters, but the humor from the commentators hit me in just the right way. The overly misogynistic comments were surprising, and made me laugh every time, because it emphasized how ridiculous the character making those comments was. These characters were constantly insulting the Bellas, but they just came across as a couple of idiots, which made the comedy work really well. These characters felt unnecessarily forced into the plot of this movie, but I liked seeing the characters whenever they were on screen, so I looked past the fact that their presence made no sense. These characters were extremely over-the-top and unrealistically misogynistic, but the tone and comedic timing from John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks proved once again, that this was an effective comedy duo.

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Con: The Action (-2pts)

The action in this movie was fine. There was no shaky-cam, the stunts were cool, the fight choreography was decent, and it had a comedic style to it. My problem with the action in this movie was that it was unnecessary, felt out of place, and it took focus away from the things that worked so well in the previous movies. The action was decent and comedic, but it felt like a distraction.

It felt like the filmmakers tried to go in a somewhat different direction with Pitch Perfect 3, but they also tried to maintain what worked well in the last two movies. Rather than incorporate action elements into the competition storyline, the filmmakers separated these two things entirely. We had the action storyline on one side, the competition storyline on the other, and the filmmakers were sat firmly in the middle, flip-flopping back and forth. Both the action and the competition had entertaining things to offer, but the filmmakers of Pitch Perfect 3 struggled to find a balance and I thought both storylines suffered for it.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C+ (79pts)

Pitch Perfect 3 was a lackluster third installment of a hit series of movies. The filmmakers tried to balance the line between giving fans what they expected to see and giving them something fresh. Rather than incorporate fresh elements into the competition storyline, the filmmakers decided separate the two. We basically had two storylines. The filmmakers tried to jump back and forth between two completely different storylines, when they should have blended the two together instead. As a result, both storylines felt choppy and underdeveloped.

Fortunately, the movie had Rebel Wilson as Amy. She was easily the best part of the last two movies and this movie was no different. Some of her comedy felt forced, but plenty of it hit me just right. Rebel Wilson has fantastic comedic timing and she was the comedic powerhouse of this movie, but take nothing away from Anna Kendrick. She has a great voice that drives the plot and the music, but she also provides the movie with a likable and relatable main character. Mix the movie‘s problems with these two actresses, and some fun music, and the fans are left with a flawed, but moderately entertaining movie.

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