Going flat and sharp: A ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ Film Review

3.64 over 5 stars.

The glory days of the Bellas are over.

“Pitch Perfect 3” is a lackluster conclusion to the once-hyped franchise. It is nothing but a disappointment to the lofty bar set by its first installment. There is nothing fresh about this movie – the filmmakers tried desperately to pull the strings by following the original Pitch Perfect formula. But in doing so, everything seemed off-key. The storyline was a mess, the musical sequences had no appeal, the humor felt too stressed, and the characters seemed to lose their characters. Despite having a good finale story-wise, the film just did not work out with its ginormous heap of mishaps.

Story

3.00 over 5 stars.

Three years after their graduation from Barden University, the Bellas are invited by Emily to a reunion at the New York Aquarium. After seeing each other again at the venue, they are all too excited to perform once more as a group as they were sick of their adult lives. However, it rained on their parade when Emily and the new Barden Bellas clarify that they were invited to watch them sing, and not to actually sing.

Disappointed, the Bella alumnae express how much they yearn to sing together again. Out of the blue, Aubrey belts out an idea – with her father’s connections as an Army officer, they could be able to join a USO performance. And so they did.

Upon arriving at the first stop of the tour, they are introduced to other groups who are sharing the same stage with them, and these groups use instruments. Later on, they learn that this was actually a competition – whoever wins will open for DJ Khaled. Of course, the Bellas are nothing short of competitive. They initiate a riff-off, but find themselves walking in the shadow of defeat as all the other bands team up against them with the use of their musical instruments.

Meanwhile, Fat Amy has a problem of her own – her long lost criminal father seems to have returned. When the Bellas decide to crash a party at DJ Khaled’s suite, Fat Amy is sidetracked to a poker tournament set up by her father, Fergus. Her old man tries his best to convince her that he has changed, and she soon begins to believe him. However, her father is just using her to get access to a million-dollar offshore account put up by her mother. Fat Amy then shuts out her father, but Fergus vows for revenge.

Will the Bellas win the rest of the tour? Or will they succumb to the fact that singing with instruments is better than singing in acapella? And what will happen to Fat Amy? What will her father do to get to her again?

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Marching into battle ‘unprepared’. Photo from Slash Film.

The storyline of “Pitch Perfect 3” did not have a single pinch of charm. It was as if the screenwriters were just following a set of Standard Operating Procedures that were the backbone of the previous two films in the trilogy. The plot itself was a disaster, despite the good theme expressed towards the film’s end. It was like a big boiling pot of randomly picked food from the fridge – the ingredients did not work together.

Sights and Sounds

4.06 and 3.50 over 5 stars, respectively.

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Salute to the Bellas’ nautical-themed uniform. Wishing their musical numbers were as appealing as their costumes. Photo from FilmJabber.

I have to commend the Bellas’ wardrobe during their performances. Their army-and-navy-inspired outfits were totally on point. But the musical sequences lacked that twinkle that this film’s predecessors used to offer. The songs were not catchy at all. I did not find myself singing one of the songs after the film, unlike after I watched “Pitch Perfect 2” when the song “Flashlight” was stuck in my mind for months.

Starrers

4.00 over 5 stars.

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‘Pitch Perfect 3’ is led by the stars we all loved in the first film. But their characters seemed to be rip-offs from an alternate universe. Photo from The Jakarta Post.

The Bellas are still portrayed by the same ensemble cast led by Anna Kendrick as Beca. However, the characters that the audience used to love were gone, and were replaced by robots in disguise. Their colorful personalities seemed to have dissipated into nothingness. Well, except for Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) who still had some humor left running under her sleeves. Yeah, even Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) appeared to have lost their funny bones somewhere.

Many characters from the previous films in the franchise were no-shows in “Pitch Perfect 3”However, the audience was introduced to new ones. Most noteworthy of these newcomers was Ruby Rose as Calamity, lead of the competing band “Evermoist”. She just radiated a strong aura from her character that surely threatened the Bellas. Of course, DJ Khaled cameo-ed as himself.

Film Score Board_Pitch Perfect 3

Even if “Pitch Perfect 3” tried its best to give the franchise a satisfying conclusion, the movie as a whole was just a sour note. It even felt as if it destroyed what its predecessors established – that those who sing in acapella are awesome to watch. In this film, it was as if acapella performances are boring. And this is just one of the many things that are wrong in this movie.

Indeed, the film is a cacophony of tragic elements – a disconnected story, mediocre music-and-dance scenes, non-witty punchlines, and bland character personalities. Truly, the film’s key message had been buried six feet into the ground by the movie’s shortcomings.

I’m glad though that the Bellas have decided to move on. Hopefully, I can do so as well for moving on from this disappointment will be a difficult road to tread on.

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