Though formulaic to a fault, Pitch Perfect is the sort of film where you know pretty much everything that’s going to happen, but you enjoy the ride anyway. Anna Kendrick leads a charming ensemble of girls who are in an a cappella singing group that competes in nationals. Is it Bring it On meets Glee? Yes, but… it works. Our review of Pitch Perfect on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Anna Kendrick plays Beca, an outsider who goes to college reluctantly. She wants to be a DJ as she’s often making mash-up tracks and wants to move to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. But she promised her father she’d give college a go, and when she starts slacking he makes her a deal that if she joins a group he’ll help finance her trip to LA as long as she at least tries for a while. So she joins an a cappella group that’s headed up by Aubrey (Anna Camp), who ended up vomiting the last time they went to nationals. There’s also her sidekick Chloe (Brittany Snow), who has nodes, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), slutty Stacy (Alexis Knapp), the silent but weird Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and more.
Though Beca is reticent, eventually she joins up and their main competition is another local act who end up recruiting Jesse (Skylar Astin) in to their a cappella group, and it’s Jesse who is the Beca’s love interest. But in Beca’s glee club Aubrey reigns with an iron fist on what they perform, and Becca’s got new ideas, so there’s conflict. And that’s the movie, you can see where it’s going, but the film functions as a spotlight for its cast, and all the main players get moments to shine, while also being very attractive. For better or worse, this is one of the most attractive casts of 2012.
Kendrick plays the grump well, but her singing voice is phenomenal, but as good as Kendrick is, this is the picture destined to make Rebel Wilson a star. Camp has an unflattering role, and she is the one who abuses the film’s would-be catch phrase of saying “a ca” before something else, but ultimately she makes the character sympathetic and interesting. Knapp and Lee don’t have much to do, but kill it when asked to. While Britney Snow has a couple of great moments in the early sections of the film, but her material seems to dry up as the picture goes on. It’s unfortunate, they do some fun awkward things with the character (she doesn’t seem to understand personal space), and when she’s shuffled to the background it feels like a missed opportunity. And as ringers, Elizabeth Banks (who also produced the film) and John Michael Higgins play the announcers at the glee contest. Though their roles are designed for easy lay ups, both deliver zinger after zinger that deliver.
There’s already talk about a sequel, and it’s no surprise. The film played well, and the fanbase of this is only going to keep growing. Director Jason Moore follows the Apatow “Shoot funny people being funny, don’t worry about the camera” rule of direction, but it works, and Kay Cannon’s script definitely understands that even though this is a formula picture, you have to find a way to make that formula interesting. Pitch Perfect is winning, and that’s all it needs to be.
Universal’s Blu-ray comes with a DVD and digital copy. The film is presented in widescreen (1.78:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. It’s an excellent transfer. Extras include two commentaries, one with director Moore, Banks, and producer Max Handelman, and a second by producer Paul Brooks. The first is more fun to listen to. There’s a music video for the song “Starships,” twelve deleted and extended scenes (16 min.), five extended sequences labeled “Meanwhile…” (19 min.), three versions of “Line-O-Rama” (13 min.), and three sequences of “Backstage at Barden” (4 min.), which offers in character behind-the-scenes material. There’s an “On the Set” piece for one sequence (1 min.) and a quick “Look Inside” (3 min.) on the making of the film that plays like an extended trailer. Those close out the supplements, and they’re good, the deleted material is enjoyable, but this isn’t as stuffed with extras, all are solid.