Jul 24, 2015

[Movies] Pitch Perfect (2012)

So my recent review of Pitch Perfect 2 reminded me of the fact that I had never managed to get around to posting a review for the first movie. I don't have a clear reason for why this was so - it just sort of slipped through the cracks, as if often the case for various movies. I'm just one guy running this site after all - I'm only human!

And Pitch Perfect is one of those movies that became quote surprisingly popular in a fashion that felt somewhat similar to when Glee first made a splash on network television. Initially I had figured that it was just another movie that would drift through theaters and disappear soon enough. But one thing led to another and we got ourselves quite the global phenomenon.

And while I wasn't too happy with the sequel, there's a lot that can be said about this first movie and while it rather worked. And while it's not exactly a formula for success, at the very least things came together with just the right balance to make this movie pretty successful.

Synopsis: Pitch Perfect is a 2012 musical comedy movie directed by Jason Moore. The screenplay was written by Kay Cannon and was loosely based on Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory as written by Mickey Rapkin.

The movie begins with a national a cappella competition and the all-female group the Barden Bellas perform the exact same song that they've always performed to lackluster results. The only interesting twist is when Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) vomits all over the stage during her key solo. Naturally this means that they lose and the group's reputation is forever tarnished. Four months later, Aubrey is now one of the co-leaders of the Bellas together with Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow) and they're once again trying to recruit new talent into the group.

Enter Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at the college, who is only attending because her father has forced her to go and her also teaches at the school. Her own dreams are to become a music producer and skip college entirely. She initially skips most of her classes and this leads to a confrontation with her father. He finally makes a deal with her - that she should at least try to join a club and see if she wants to continue on in school, otherwise he'll pay to send her to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. And thus she ends up joining the Barden Bellas along with other quirky freshmen.

On the surface, you can see how a lot of the movie seems to be composed of various tropes and cliches. We have your usual band of misfits as an underdog group preparing for a big competition. We have the reluctant hero-style character with good ideas for the group but reluctant to come forward. We have the misguided leaders who are tied too deeply to tradition and old habits instead of trying to break out and try something new. We even have the well-meaning guy who falls in love with our heroine but of course has a hard time getting to her heart.

But the personalities brought together for this movie really defined the experience. A lot of us already loved Anna Kendrick by the time this movie rolled along, but strong personalities like Rebel Wilson really made quite an impact as well. And the movie made sure to give a lot of these side characters their little moments in the spotlight that really helped present why each of them were somehow meant to be in the group, or at least in the movie.

The music itself was mostly okay, but I think in a post-Glee world we're largely over mash-up song mixes. To be fair, the mixes weren't too bad and they were certainly entertaining. But I guess we can only go so far with these things and I'd like to see something genuinely different soon enough. But the movie still has a wider market appeal that certainly makes things a lot of fun and should help partly explain their success.

Pitch Perfect is a fun movie with a lot of heart and it certainly did well to endear itself to audiences and make them outright fans. One can easily appreciate how the success of the movie quickly led to a sequel and also led to so many people adding the new prefix "aca" to so many words. Thus the movie gets 4 crazy a cappella numbers featured in the movie out of a possible 5.

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