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Pitch Perfect 3 (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Every popular film must find itself a way to being a trilogy, right? Well, that’s the case now with the Pitch Perfect franchise. Personally, I found the first film to be charming enough and it was quite popular enough to warrant an encore performance or a victory lap of sorts.  That victory lap turned into a really really awful film, but it did make money, so here with are with our third film about a zany female collegiate acapella group. And hey, it didn’t total as much money as the second film, but still made plenty enough to count your winnings take it home and bid the world adieu. This final performance of the Bellas will be making its way to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on March 20th (The first two films will also see an upgrade on this date). Don’t be one of those lazy pitches, pre-order yourself to have it on release. 

Film 

Now graduated from college, realizing it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the beloved series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Upfront, while there are some problematic issues with the narrative and some characters in the first Pitch Perfect film, I found it to be fun and charming enough to overcome it and be a decent little film. The second film was a bit of a mess and just on overload and made me rethink or embarrassed to have said I liked the first film. Now, here with the third and presumably final (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE) film, I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive the experience.

The third film is outlandish, dumb, unfunny and goes way overboard and too far. No, its not like there wasn’t room to tell a third story, but this almost feels like a 12th film based off a movie that was focused on the silliness of collegiate A Capella competitions. This is basically the series’ having nowhere to go but space. There’s an idea of what might have been a novel idea and may have redeemed this series from the dreadful second installment. They could have gone the Christopher Guest faux documentary route, catching up with the Bellas and centering it around the first reunion to perform in X amount of years. But, no, that idea is a silly side gag just to start or give Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins reason to be in the film. Instead we get some stupid plot about Fat Amy’s dad showing up, kidnapping and an action sequence on a boat.

Things just don’t work the fourth time around at all. All good will was extinguished in the second film. No more is it charming. Fat Amy has become the Steve Stifler of the series, making you wonder what you may have ever been laughing at in the first place. Anna Kendrick looks like she can’t wait til this film wraps. A lot of the times, one wonders if this movie isn’t an advertisement for how great DJ Khaled apparently is (Play a drinking game every time he’s mentioned/name dropped and you’ll be in a hospital with alcohol poisoning). There are just so many decisions and interactions that don’t make sense, aren’t earned, just happen because and only caused me to become infuriated. For instance, when the Bellas meet the other acts they are competing with, they are made fun of for only doing covers and having no original material. The only times we see the other bands play, all they are playing is covers.

Pitch Perfect wasn’t able to stretch its formula enjoyably beyond one film. During Fat Amy kung fu kicking scarred 90s action film thugs aboard a deluxe yacht, eating a peanut butter sandwich and setting a toaster to explode while the Bellas perform “Toxic” to Jon Lithgow’s crime boss (And father to Amy) as a last request before he executes them…I turned to my wife and said “Remember when this was just about trying to win a singing competition and finding your place in college?”.  Amusingly, the Fast & The Furious franchise was able to get crazy in a believable and enjoyable way without us even blinking and jumping right in, but…Pitch Perfect doesn’t even sniff this. Not everybody can pull a Torretto. The Bellas tried and failed so so so hard.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Pitch Perfect 3 was finished with a 2.8K DI and comes to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a 4K upscale. And really, it looks pretty good. Granted, you have to sit through this garbage to see it, but it looks really pretty. It has some great color saturation and the image is vivid and comes right off the screen. Details are plenty strong and the picture looks crisp and sharp.

Depth:  Great spacing appears in this image, crafting a three dimensional looking appeal at many times. Movements are smooth and natural. No blurring or juttering was found.

Black Levels: Blacks have some good saturation and look deep and natural while not having much in the way of crushing and holding strong to details like textures, patterns, hair follicles and more.

Color Reproduction: Colors are probably the strong suit here. Blonde hair and much of the clothing worn really pops and stings here in the image with good reds, yellows, blues among others. Neon lights, signs and car lights take advantage of the HDR as well.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures come through pretty clear in medium and closeup shots the whole way through.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD, French 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Pitch Perfect 3 gives a nice balanced and well layered performance with its DTS:X track, utilizing all the speakers and immersive capabilities of the format. The singing and musical numbers are the highlight of the whole thing, but action actually plays well too. The dynamics and unique depth the number with instruments and individual vocals really shine here.

Height: From above you gets some water sounds, flight of planes/helicopters, ambiance and some more things to complete the full room experience.

Low Frequency Extension: Bass, drums, explosions, gunshots, hitting people with a frying pan and more get a bump from the subwoofer. Its a nice thump, but I feel could have been a little stronger.

Surround Sound Presentation: Speakers are all active, bringing the environments to life. Some singing pops here and there from all around, as well as environmental sounds that go beyond ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are audible at all times and plenty clear. Singing sounds better than the dialogue which doesn’t sound as distinct and loose as it could have been, a little lower in the mix too.

Extras 

Pitch Perfect 3 comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Aside from commentaries, all bonus features appear on the standard Blu-ray disc.

4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Disc

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Trish Sie
  • With Producers Paul Brooks & Max Handelman

Blu-ray Disc

New Musical Performances (HD, 4:24)

  • Fat Amy & Fergus Casino Duet
  • The Bellas: “See You Smile” Lullaby

Extended Musical Performances (HD, 8:50)

  • Evermoist: “How a Heart Unbreaks”
  • Young Sparrow / DJ Dragon Nutz: “You Got It”
  • Saddle Up: “Ex’s and Oh’s”

Deleted Scene: Aubrey At Amy’s Hotel Door (HD, 1:01)

Gag Reel (HD, 3:22)

Competition Crescendo (HD, 6:37) – Behind the scenes of the riff-off scene in the film.

A Cappella Action (HD, 3:15) – A full break down of the scene where Fergus betrays Fat Amy and kidnaps the Bellas, taking us through performance aspects and stunt work.

The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 (HD, 4:21) – Focuses on how the series has bucked trends about all-female lead movies and the goes against industry stereotypes.

Don’t Mess with Rebel (HD, 4:27) – In this featurette, we see the training and stunt work that Rebel Wilson had to put in for the film.

The Headliner: DJ Khaled (HD, 3:01) – We see how DJ Khaled fits into the film and how he got along with the cast and crew.

The Final Note: John and Gail (HD, 2:22) – The Talk-a-pella podcasters are the focus of this feature, going on about their place in the story of the film.

Just Because He’s a Bad Guy… (HD, 1:54) – This is a piece on John Lithgow joining the cast of the film and the chemistry between he and Rebel Wilson as they play father and daughter.

The Final Performance (HD, 4:30)  We get to look at the emotional final wrap for the series during the shoot.

“Freedom! ’90 x Cups” Official Music Video (HD, 2:36)

Hollywood of the South (HD, 2:28) – A pieces on shooting films in Atlanta.

Summary 

If you couldn’t tell, I wasn’t a fan of Pitch Perfects final piece of its A Capella trilogy. Comedy sequels are a tough go of it, and none of the Pitch Perfects became the exception to the rule. And here I thought Bad Moms Christmas was the bad comedy sequel fro 2017, that one is Monty Python and the Holy Grail in comparison to this third Bella adventure. The 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray looks and sounds great if you’re willing to stomach it. The extras look a long list, but most of them are short and full of empty calorie EPK material. If you really must have the film, this is the best performance you’re going to get it at, but I’d certainly wait for a Black Friday sale to complete your Pitch Perfect collection in your home video library.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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