***Warning: This post contains spoilers for Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road***
Last weekend, my drive-in put together Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road on the same screen. At first glance, it may seem odd these two were put together. One film is a comedy and the other is action packed, but the main commonality of these two films are ladies dominating the screen time. They show a variety of ladies in these films because not every single woman is going to be the exact same copy of each other. There will always be differences in personality alone. If we only have ladies who take charge and look hot while doing it, then a film becomes a copy of films before it.
Pitch Perfect 2 is all about the ladies. They are facing the the problem of the Barden Bellas becoming a thing a of the past, and the only way for them to survive is winning the World Championship. All through out the movie I kept thinking about Community‘s Christmas episode, “Regional Holiday Music,” where the study group had to become the glee club. I knew the stakes were supposed to be high, but I wasn’t able to be fully invested in it. It was the same plot with the original movie. The Bellas had to win again. They kept talking about the World Championship and met their enemy, but it was a background plot. I didn’t care about who won this time around. I cared about the interactions of the characters.
The film did a good job of making the first part disjointed. It didn’t flow, and it showed the group was no longer together. They had lost who they were as a group. Instead we were getting individual stories of Beca, Amy and the new girl, Emily.
For me, the best part of the film was when they went on the retreat. It is where the synchronization started because they were becoming a group again. Before this happened, the tone of the Bellas had changed (not for the better). Yes, they were a group who was trying to get back to the top, but the heart was gone. It came back when they started to open up and supporting each other.
This movie felt like a sequel. Someone would not be able be able to come into the movie without seeing the first and understand everything that was happening. It is a continuance of the story, but the problem with sequels is the first movies are well loved it is hard for the second film to live up to the first.
A sequel doesn’t always have to be bigger to be better, and Pitch Perfect 2 movie had this example with the Bellas trying to be bigger in order to be better. However, I don’t think the movie necessarily lived up to their own example. They added more characters, but the some of the characters felt typecast. They went for the easy jokes.
Then there is the music. While I don’t hate the majority of songs on the film, it did not make me want to buy the album immediately after I left the theater. The first film had me jumping up and down singing right along with the songs. I got into the film. This time I left the theater questioning the credibility. Why would the majority of groups from all around the world be singing an American song? If it was a national championship, it would be comprehendable for multiple groups singing the same song, but this was a World Championship. I know timing is a factor, but the movie failed for me with this part.
Overall it was interesting to see a film take a reverse stance from several other films. The ladies were the main focus, and the only times the guys were on screen they were playing the love interest for the girls. They were the supportive cheerleaders.
Mad Max: Fury Road didn’t get the guy cheerleaders. What they got was Imperator Furiosa saving the ladies from Immortan Joe. While this movie was the fourth Mad Max film, no one had to see the first three films in order to know what was happening with this film. This film is a simple action flick that will give the audience an adrenaline rush.
There were no long explicative scenes of what was happening. The film didn’t need them. It let the audience know what they needed to know piece by piece. It was fluid this way, and comprehensive. There didn’t need to be any scenes of Joe treating the women as sex slaves. The “We are not things” written on the wall was enough to understand what was happening. There were no scenes of rape happening on the screen because a person does not need to be shown the act actually happening in order to process a person is being raped. They are able to grasp it from what the ladies wrote and then later seeing them cutting off their chastity belts with bolt cutters. We know the ladies were treated as objects, and they were proving to themselves and us they were human beings who were not inferior.
The women held so much power in this film. Max and Nux had to become accepted by them, or they would not have been able to join forces with them. They wouldn’t have earned one of the few motorcycles because they would not have deserved them.
It was a “lovely day” when I watched this film. Joe and his brothers had made everyone inferior to them, but this film showed the ones considered inferior were in fact superior. The most beautiful part was Max and Furiosa not falling into the concept of the guy and girl hating each other at first, and then falling in love by the end of the film. They were comrades in arms, both of them seeking redemption.
The film didn’t give deep depth or draw out the characters, but it didn’t need to. It gave a good adrenaline rush. It succeeded my expectations, and was very tactful. The film is rated R and George Miller could have gone all Game of Thrones with graphics, but he kept it tasteful. After all, the film is mainly for the car chases with drummers and a guitarist with a flame thrower guitar thrown in.
The most beautiful thing about these two films is they would not have been better if the genders have been reversed. They proved women can be a major factor of a film without always being sexualized. They can be equals. They can be the ones in the driver’s seat with the guy in the passenger’s seat supporting them.