Pitch Perfect 2 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 6-Aug-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Bonus Song Performed by The Treblemakers
Featurette-Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Elizabeth Banks' Directorial Debut
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Bellas Are Back
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Aca-Camp
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Making of the Riff-Off
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The World Championships of A Cappella
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Snoop Is in the House
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Residual Heat Internship
Featurette-An Aca-Love Story: Bumper and Fat Amy
Featurette-Legacy: Hailee Steinfeld
Audio Commentary-Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producers Paul Brooks
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-x5
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 114:46
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Elizabeth Banks
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Anna Kendrick
Rebel Wilson
Hailee Steinfeld
Brittany Snow
Skylar Astin
Adam DeVine
Katey Sagal
Anna Camp
Chrissie Fit
Birgitte Hjort Sørensen
John Michael Higgins
Keegan-Michael Key
Elizabeth Banks
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Mark Mothersbaugh


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Back in 2012, Pitch Perfect defied all rational expectations, turning a can’t-win proposition of a Glee-inspired college comedy-cum-musical into pure gold. Fortunately, 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2 pulls off a comparable miracle, overcoming the law of diminishing returns for a riotously funny follow-up that stands as a wonderful companion piece to its sleeper hit of a predecessor. Once again penned by Kay Cannon, though this time directed by Elizabeth Banks, Pitch Perfect 2 has a firm grasp on what worked for the original movie: quirky characters spouting witty dialogue, intercut with catchy, well-rehearsed a cappella musical performances. This is actually the funniest movie of 2015 so far, serving up several belly-laughs in the first five minutes alone. From the very beginning, it’s clear Pitch Perfect 2 is a winner.

    Following a performance in front of President Obama that goes haywire, the Barden Bellas are in disgrace, banned from domestic a cappella competitions. However, the girls are given a shot at redemption; they will be reinstated if they can win the World Championships in Copenhagen, a feat that has never been pulled off by an American team in history. In order to win, the Bellas face stiff competition in the form of Das Sound Machine, a leather-clad, supremely confident German a cappella troupe with a refined sound. As the Bellas work to improve themselves, Beca (Anna Kendrick) begins to pursue other interests, scoring an internship at a local record company that could help her fulfil her dream of being a music producer.

    Pitch Perfect 2 takes the series to its next logical step, finding Beca and other girls approaching graduation while long-time Bella member Chloe (Brittany Snow) admits that she has purposely failed her exams multiple times to stay at the University and remain in the group. Beca’s personal life is also probed further, as she maintains a relationship with Jesse (Skylar Astin) and feels out her record company internship. To be sure, the storytelling is all standard-order stuff, with a predictable narrative outcome from the outset, but it all works - it’s so much fun that you barely notice the clichéd broad strokes, much less be bothered by them. Besides, there is some genuine pathos here, not to mention a strong sense of sisterhood that’s achieved not through obvious “girl power” tropes but rather from developing distinct characters who feel like real friends. In fact, barely any time is spent observing the rehearsal process - Pitch Perfect 2 is mostly comprised of vignettes that develop the characters and provide a tonne of belly-laughs. Admittedly, the flick is a bit long in the tooth, running at a rather gargantuan 115 minutes, but this isn’t a major issue.

    Zippy and slick, Pitch Perfect 2 is actually funnier than the first movie, which might be attributable to having a woman at the helm. For a first-time director, Banks (who produced and had a supporting role in the 2012 film) is astonishingly assured, showing an amazing grasp of comic timing and pacing. Whereas a lot of American comedies like The Heat are notoriously undisciplined and full of overdone improvisation, Pitch Perfect 2 keeps the actors on a tight leash. This is a long movie, yeah, but only because there’s a lot of story material to work through, not because performers spend five minutes on one joke. As for the soundtrack, Pitch Perfect 2 does a great job of upholding its predecessor’s reputation - covers of songs like Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” are hugely enjoyable, while the finale features an original track entitled “Flashlight” that’s guaranteed to rack up millions of hits on YouTube. One of the big highlights is a five-way a cappella showdown that manages to be both catchy and riotously funny, while the climax is a genuine show-stopper, topping the previous movie with seemingly little effort.

    A lot of laughs are provided by the extremely non-PC John Michael Higgins and director Banks herself as a pair of broadcasters who deliver wry commentary on the a cappella performances. And, of course, Australian comedy heavyweight Rebel Wilson is enormously funny as Fat Amy - she delivers at least a dozen one-liners that are destined to be quoted non-stop by fans. Luckily, Wilson is not overused; Banks clearly realises that she’s much funnier when utilised sporadically, as opposed to featuring in every scene. Meanwhile, Kendrick remains eminently disarming and occasionally funny, making for a strong dramatic anchor. The newcomers shine as well, with young Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld making a positive impression as a new addition to the Bellas. Comedy dynamite is also added in the form of Chrissie Fit as a beleaguered Mexican student who constantly reminds her Bella sisters of the (hilariously) hard life she’s had. Further laughs, meanwhile, are provided by Keegan-Michael Key as Beca’s new boss. And as the big-hitters in Das Sound Machine, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Flula Borg happily embrace the caricatures that they are.

    Comedy is subjective, but I laughed my ass off during Pitch Perfect 2, with tears streaming from my eyes, which is a big deal. It’s a hilarious, enjoyable, skilfully-assembled joke-delivery system, beset with playful songs and plenty of goofy non-sequiturs and good-spirited gags. And it’s aca-awesome. Be sure to stick around for some extra action in the credits.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Coming from somebody who viewed the movie theatrically on two occasions, Pitch Perfect 2’s 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer is very satisfying, wonderfully replicating the cinematic experience at home.

    Colour is perhaps the transfer’s strongest suit. This is a vibrant movie, and the transfer does a fine job of handling the colourful visuals - skin tones are natural, the gaudy costumes leap off the screen, and there’s tremendous clarity in the performance scenes, with nothing in the way of problematic black crush.

    Detail and sharpness is consistently strong as well, showing again why Blu-ray trumps DVD in terms of video quality. However, the transfer is not perfect. Universal is allergic to any sort of grain or noise, and the image looks muddy from time to time as a result, with some of the finer details being lost, showing evidence of DNR. Still, most people probably won’t be bothered by this; I’m just a discerning videofile.

    I detected no encoding anomalies. It’s smooth sailing. Universal has done a perfectly adequate job bringing the Bellas to disc. There are a few subtitle tracks available, and they’re non-intrusive and easy on the eyes.

Video Ratings Summary
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Overall

Audio

    Most comedies don’t provide much wow factor in the audio department, but Pitch Perfect 2 is full of musical performances, and the high-end DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack here is close to perfect. The extras delve into the creation of the songs and the layering of many audio tracks, and this Blu-ray replicates the cinematic experience perfectly.

    Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. The musical performances were a joy to hear on my home theatre set-up. The surround channels are used to give atmosphere to the various environments. This is a strong track which perfectly complements the movie. Fans will enjoy it immensely.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A typical Universal slate of extras, with plenty of fluffy featurettes available. This limited edition (exclusive to JB Hi-Fi) contains a second disc with an additional half-hour of supplements. Like the recent Fast & Furious 7 limited edition set, the second disc is a DVD, thus the extras exclusive to this set are in standard definition.

Menu

    A standard menu from Universal. Some music with clips from the film.

Bonus Song Performed by The Treblemakers (3:27)

    Half of this featurette reveals the background behind the performance, the other half is the actual performance. Nice little addition.

Extended Musical Performances

    Three extended musical performances are provided: “Bellas” (1:58), “Das Sound Machine” (1:23), and “Bellas: Finale Clap-Along” (0:44).

Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown (2:06 each)

    DSM’s finale song is available to view with different soundtracks. Included are All Vocals, Background Vocals Only, Beat Box Only, and Lead Vocals Only.

Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes (12:14)

    Nine deleted and extended scenes are available here: “Jesse Drops Off Beca At Work - Extended” (1:46), “Treble Party - Alternate” (1:00), “Bumper Arrives at Treble Party” (1:18), “Treble Party - Extended” (1:04), “Car Show: ‘Farter’” (0:56), “Intro to Mansion - Extended” (1:35), “Beat Box - Extended” (1:21), “Setting Up Tents” (1:50), and “Amy and Bumper Make-Up - Alternate” (1:32). A few nice moments here, but nothing essential.

Gag Reel (3:08)

    A moderately amusing collection of line flubs, stuff-ups, and other on-camera goofing around.

Line-Aca-Rama (3:36)

    A reel of alternate lines of dialogue. Some of it is mildly amusing.

Green Bay Rap (0:52)

    A short, pointless clip of some of the Green Bay Packers randomly rapping.

Elizabeth Banks' Directorial Debut (5:20)

    A short behind-the-scenes featurette focusing on Elizabeth Banks. There’s plenty of on-set footage here, as well as interviews with a number of cast and crew.

The Bellas Are Back (6:13)

    This particular behind-the-scenes featurette concentrates on the Bellas. Nothing substantial, but there is some funny stuff here.

Aca-Camp (5:04)

    A fun, brisk behind-the-scenes glimpse at the boot camp that the Bellas go through. I liked seeing raw footage of the girls doing various activities; it’s clear a lot of fun was had during shooting.

The Making of the Riff-Off (6:02)

    The A Cappella Riff-Off scene is one of the movie’s centrepieces, so this is a brief behind-the-scenes look at the scene’s creation. As with the other featurettes, it’s clear everyone had a fun time on the set. Plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews are provided here.

The World Championships of A Cappella (9:30)

    Another bright behind-the-scenes featurette, this time concentrating on the climactic A Cappella showdown. Very worthwhile.

Snoop Is in the House (2:53)

    I enjoyed this. A short look at Snoop Dogg’s cameo in the movie, with the entire cast and crew gushing with excitement over his presence on-set.

Residual Heat Internship (2:26)

    A very brief look at the shooting of scenes of Beca’s internship with the very funny Keegan-Michael Key.

An Aca-Love Story: Bumper and Fat Amy (5:26)

    An entire featurette dedicated to the peculiar love story which emerges between Bumper and Amy. Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine are both funny performers, and I enjoyed seeing on-set footage of them goofing around and improvising.

Legacy: Hailee Steinfeld (6:04)

    The young Hailee Steinfeld also gets her own featurette. Her co-stars talk about how precious she is, and it’s clear that she got along well with everyone.

Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producers Paul Brooks and Max Handelman

    A pleasant, light commentary with a few nice tidbits about budget, filming, cast, scripting, the role of improvisation, jokes that were cut, and so on. Not riveting, but a nice listen.

Muffgate **Limited Edition Exclusive** (7:00)

    A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of the opening dance number, which results in Fat Amy’s infamous “Muffgate” incident. This featurette covers Rebel Wilson’s training, and shows some on-set footage, including some amusing outtakes. Good stuff.

Aca-Dance Auditions **Limited Edition Exclusive** (6:02)

    A fairly interesting look at the process of auditioning hundreds of people to be dancers in the film.

A Capella Experts **Limited Edition Exclusive** (5:41)

    This entertaining little featurette focuses on preparing the main cast members for their singing in the movie. There’s a fair amount of raw rehearsal footage, and some fun interviews.

We Are Das Sound Machine **Limited Edition Exclusive** (6:13)

    A short profile of the Das Sound Machine group. A number of the performers chime in, and there’s some rehearsal footage and behind-the-scenes.

Props, Lock & Drop **Limited Edition Exclusive** (5:48)

    This final behind-the-scenes featurette looks at the Bellas, focusing on the props and dance moves in their arsenal. Inconsequential, but fun.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Supplemental material appears to be the same across all territories, and the bonus disc is the icing on top. It appears that the Americans also received the bonus disc as a Target exclusive. Buy local with confidence.

Summary

    I loved Pitch Perfect 2. It's a bright, funny, brisk motion picture, and a worthy sequel to the 2012 surprise hit. I can't imagine anyone walking away from the movie without a smile on their face.

    Universal's Blu-ray is fine. Video and audio are strong, and there are a whole heap of special features. The extras aren't overly substantial, but it kind of comes with the territory. Fans can buy with confidence. And the second disc exclusive to this limited edition is worthwhile. Currently, the limited editions sells as JB for the same price as the regular edition. It's a no-brainer. Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Monday, September 21, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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