Pitch Perfect 3 Blu-ray Review
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The Bellas are back for more aca-added made-up words, in the second sequel to the popular Pitch Perfect, which is not quite the final chapter fans were hoping for.Just five years ago Pitch Perfect hit the screens, becoming something of a sleeper hit, making almost ten times its budget and attracting a surprising amount of praise from critics - it was fun, funny and perhaps most importantly lacked pretentiousness. It became the second highest grossing musical comedy film after School of Rock, and pushed its largely unknown cast into the limelight, with star Anna Kendrick arguably running with the newfound fame to become something of an entity in and of herself. The 2015 sequel reunited the cast and somehow balanced both freshness and familiarity to deliver the goods, similarly following the critical and commercial success route, proving almost as much fun as the first film whilst doubling the box office to become the highest grossing musical comedy. A third film was inevitable.Director Trish Sie - who has the dubious fame of directing a straight-to-video Step Up sequel - directs the third Pitch Perfect flick as little more than a bigger budget straight-to-video affair, finding little visual distinction with her pedestrian style. Beyond the cold open (possibly the result of the reshoots that delayed the release and ostensibly the highlight of the film, but actually poorly built up and quite anticlimatic), the heavy lifting for this film remains firmly in the hands of the game cast who prove, despite the DTV feel, to be up for singing their hearts out and riffing off one another even when the film is falling apart around them. It's a shame the previous sequel's helmer Elizabeth Banks (who remains a strong force behind the scenes) didn't commit to this one too, as perhaps she would have delivered a more inspired effort.
Picture QualityDitching the planned UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release (which is still getting launched stateside), Universal instead leave Pitch Perfect 3 fans with the option to pick this up on Region Free Blu-ray. The film isn't a clear contender for the 4K upgrade and, indeed, struggles to even excel in 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition, but still delivers a faithful 1.85:1 aspect ratio widescreen presentation of the material, looking good enough to satisfy as it closes out the Bellas' trilogy.
Only hardcore fans should feel the need to import the Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Detail is decent enough on this digitally shot affair which is shimmering with all the consummate glitz you expect from the franchise, with close-ups revealing finer flourishes on skin textures and clothing weaves, whilst softer shots pepper the piece in a way which the cynical might believe was to do with keeping the cast looking young and flawless. Certainly it's a colourful affair and the presentation is more than up to handling the strong primary tones on offers, with only black levels faltering somewhat and affording the piece a hint of crush that you would likely expect its US Ultra HD Blu-ray sibling managed to avoid. It's hardly demo material, but it's a solid, at times very good presentation nonetheless, and only hardcore fans should feel the need to import the Ultra HD Blu-ray alternative.
Sound QualityNo complaints here about the DTS:X immersive HD audio soundtrack, thankfully identical to the US release's Ultra HD Blu-ray soundtrack, and founded upon the same excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 core which does a great job at delivering the song-dominated audio with aplomb.
No complaints about the audio.
Dialogue is delivered clearly and coherently throughout, with the at times quickfire banter still taking precedence over the remaining elements, even if it really is all about the songs. Perhaps the most action-packed entry, Pitch Perfect 3 utilises a cold open to milk as much airtime as it can from a single explosive setpiece, however this does allow for some decent surround action and LFE input, and it's generally a well-observed, well-orchestrated affair, yielding strong dynamics and hearty surround activity (the airbase is rife with engulfing, immersive background noise). The songs, whether impromptu or performed, and delivered with expected pzazz, remaining the highlight of the track and, overall, it's unsurprisingly largely demo territory.
ExtrasPitch Perfect 3's Blu-ray release comes packed with extra features headlined by not one but two Audio Commentaries, the first a strong solo affair from the Director, whilst the second affords us two Producers to reflect upon the production (although former franchise Director Elizabeth Banks is nowhere to be found).
Packed with extra features.
There rest of the extras are a little bit bitty, but there are a whole host of them, with the highlights being a number of additional music segments (some of which should have made the final cut) and extended music sequences, a single Deleted Scene and a short Gag Reel. The shorter Featurettes look behind the riff-off, the end (and beginning) setpiece, the new and old characters, and the locations, with specific focus on Rebel Wilson and John Lithgow, and a Music Video to round things off.
Blu-ray VerdictBilled as the last entry, it's not quite the ending that fans would have ideally hoped for, and a bit more time, effort and refinement (rather than bigger budget effects) could have certainly afforded more memorable high notes for The Bellas to sing themselves out on. But franchise fans with suitably reset expectations will still be warmly happy to have them back together again, and, come the end of it all, will still be sweetly sad to see them go.
Franchise fans will still be happy to have The Bellas back together.
Universal's Region Free UK Blu-ray release of Pitch Perfect 3 affords the film strong video and excellent audio as well as a hearty selection of extra features. Whilst some hardcore fans may want to consider importing the US Ultra HD Blu-ray release just to have the definitive video, most should content themselves with this serviceable, arguably even very good release.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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