‘Pitch Perfect 2’, the sequel to the hugely popular ‘Pitch Perfect’, was released on May 15 2015, to high expectation. The original film, which came out in 2012, was met with an enthusiastic response, quickly becoming a ‘cult classic’, similar to ‘Mean Girls’, or ‘Easy A’. Both of the ‘Pitch Perfect’ movies detail the story of a female acapella group, who originate from a Central American university, and the challenges the girls face. On the surface, whilst each appears to be about winning competitions (in the first film, the national championship, and in the second, the world), both, on a deeper level, discuss the idea of a sisterhood; a network of support from women everywhere. This female empowerment is enforced on a Meta level, the second film being directed and written by women, who make up 18% of the film production industry worldwide. Whilst being a little clunky in parts, as well as facing the high expectations set by the original film, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ managed to carry the hilarious, exciting and inspiring tone that had already been set.
The stage is set following a significantly inappropriate wardrobe mishap for the Bellas (the acapella group of the protagonists) during their performance for President Obama, leading them to be banned from competing for the National Championships. However, due to their previous successes, they have already been invited to perform at the World Championships. A deal is struck; if the Bellas become world champions, they will be permitted to continue, though their success is exceedingly unlikely, as “Everybody hates us (America)”. The German group “Das Sound Machine” is the main rival of the girls, and the previous world champions, determined to retain their title.
Of course, in order to keep the main storyline from becoming dull, some minor individual tales are provided. Beca, the protagonist, begins to prepare for a world outside education, taking a job at a music studio. Emily, a new character, is introduced to the Bellas, determined to live up to the expectations set by her mother, an old member of the group. And Fat Amy and Bumper, the antagonist of the first film, begin a relationship, complete with serenading, and the over the top, almost disgusting kissing featured in so many comedy films. The jumps between these storylines is a little heavy handed, and certainly forced at some points, but for the main part, they manage to fit together nicely.
As the second movie of a franchise, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ faces the problems which all sequels come up against. Second films lose the appeal of being something new, and fresh, which is especially challenging for comedic films, rather than those from other genres which follow a wider storyline. Only a handful, such as ‘22 Jump Street’, have been able to do this well, so it was certainly interesting to see how this would be handled. Instead of developing all characters further, the film chose to only focus on a few, which was slightly disappointing, the character of Emily seeming to have a very undecided personality. Nevertheless, the humour and overall air of joy the film seems to carry makes it certainly worth watching. Another classic, with a wonderful soundtrack, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ is, without a doubt, awesome!