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THE PINK PANTHER (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 17, 2009 by  



“Hilarious and extremely enjoyable!  Steve Martin successfully creates his own version of Clouseau and bring ‘the Pink Panther’ to a new generation.  Looks absolutely awesome on Blu-ray and features a lot of lengthy special features!  If you are looking for a comedy on Blu-ray, definitely give ‘The Pink Panther’ a try!  Enjoyable, hilarious and Steve Martin is fantastic!”

© 2006 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: THE PINK PANTHER

DURATION: 93 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English, French, Portuguese (Brazil) Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Thai, Spanish (Latin Am) 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles(s): Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Dutch, English (US), French (Parisian), Indonesian / Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am), Thai

COMPANY:  Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (For Occasional Crude and Suggestive Humor and Language)

Release Date: January 20, 2009

Directed by Shawn Levy

Based on the Pink Panther Films of Blake Edwards

Based on Characters by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards

Screenplay by Len Blum and Steve Martin

Story by Len Blum and Michael Saltzman

Produced by Robert Simonds

Director of Photography: Jonathan Brown

Executive Producers: Tracy Trench, Ira Shuman

Production Designer: Lilly Kovert

Music by Christopher Beck

Music Supervisor: Randall Poster

Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi

Edited by George Folsey Jr., A.C.E., Brad E. Wilhite

Starring:

Steve Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau

Kevin Kline as Chief Inspector Dreyfus

Jean Reno as Ponton

Emily Mortimer as Nicole

Henry Czerny as Yuri

Kristin Chenoweth as Cherie

Roger Rees as Larocque

Beyonce Knowles as Xania

Wlliam Abadie as Bizu

Jason Statham as Yves Gluant

When a star soccer coach is murdered and his priceless Pink Panther diamond stolen, France is in an uproar. Fortunately, Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin, Bowfinger, Cheaper by the Dozen) is on the case. He doesn’t have a clue, but for Clouseau, that’s just a minor detail. With his partner, Gilbert Ponton (Jean Reno, The Da Vinci Code, The Professional), he careens from one misadventure to the next, leaving mayhem in his wake from the boulevards of Paris to the streets of New York. Will he seduce the pop diva, Xania (Beyoncé, Austin Powers: Goldmember)? Will he push Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Oscar(r) winner Kevin Kline, 1988 Best Supporting Actor, A Fish Called Wanda) over the edge? Will he catch the killer and recover the diamond? With Inspector Clouseau, anything is possible.

Immensely funny!  Steve Martin successfully pulls off his version of Inspector Clouseau and bringing ‘THE PINK PANTHER’ to a new generation.

Having grown up watching the “THE PINK PANTHER” films starring Peter Sellers and the popular films directed by Blake Edwards, to tell you the truth, it was hard to see a new Pink Panther film with a new cast and modernized but after watching this film, I was very impressed by the performance by Steve Martin and I couldn’t help but laugh throughout the movie and knowing that this reboot of the popular Pink Panther name will definitely be enjoyed by a new generation of viewers who are not familiar with the classic films.

The film starts off introducing Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin), narrated by Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Kevin Kline).  Clouseau is literally clumsy and very much an Inspector that really doesn’t have a clue.

We then learn about the Pink Panther, a huge pink diamond ring that is worn by Yves Gluant (played by Jason Statham), who walks down to kiss his girlfriend Xania (Beyonce) during a major soccer match.  After the French team wins, the team celebrates but then Gluant is stabbed in the neck with a poisoned dart and dies.  A closeup of the hand shows that the Pink Panther diamond is missing.

So, as Chief Inspector Dreyfus is excited about his nomination for the “Legion D’Honneur” (Medal of Honor), he needs someone in the force that he can hire that is clumsy and not really good to dig up what they can on Gluant’s murder and the missing Pink Panther diamond and then fire him, so he can take credit for it.  What better person to hire for the role but third class detective Jacques Closeau who is immediately promoted to Inspector.  Hired to keep an eye on Closeau will be Gendarme  Gilbert Ponton (Jean Reno) as the two investigate who may have killed Yves Gluant and who may have stolen the diamond.

Throughout the film, we are introduced to major key players who has a motive to kill and to steal but as Chief Inspector Dreyfus hopes Inspector Clouseau to bumble the case, somehow he gets positive media attention for his work.  But all is not good as certain key witnesses are killed or may be up to no good.  Will Closeau solve the case in time?

Throughout the whole film, we watch as the entire film is shot through a variety of beautiful locations in France and also in New York.  Each talented brings something fresh to the characters that they play but its Steve Martin showing his comedic wit as Inspector Clouseau and helping make the character as believably clumsy, naive but somehow an Inspector doing his job.  A very enjoyable film filled with a lot of humor and silliness that makes the film’s storyline all worthwhile.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“THE PINK PANTHER” is featured in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1).  The video quality was very well done as it manages to capture the beauty of France and there a good number of outdoor scenes that were just vibrant in colors and overall, video quality was very good.  I did not see any scratches or dust or artifacting.

As for the audio, the audio is featured in TrueHD 5.1.   Although, primarily a dialogue film, I did notice some surround sound being utilized during action scenes and music distribution.  But overall, it is a dialogue-driven film.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This is where “THE PINK PANTHER” Blu-ray disc shines.  There is a lot packed into this disc.  Included are:

  • Extended Beyonce Performance: “A Woman Like Me” Plus Commentary – This is one of the songs that Beyonce performed in the film.  This is the extended version of that performance.
  • Animated Trip – An interesting special feature on the creation of the Pink Panther animated opening.  With all Pink Panther films starting from 60’s to the present, all have had animated openings and thus, this featurette goes into the creation of the opening segments and interviewing the people involved in the process.
  • Audio Commentary with Director Shawn Levy – Shawn Levy really gave a good commentary and definitely good in discussing working with the various talents, the locations of where the film was shot and the various improvising for the storyline and much more.  A lot of tidbits to learn from the commentary in regards to the film.
  • Beyonce – “Check On It” – The Music video for Beyonce’s second song used for the film.
  • 11 Deleted & Extended Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary – This scene really goes into detail on several segments cut.  There were some major footage cut that utilized a good number of extras, probably cost quite a bit to make or film those segments but were actually cut.  In a way, I agree with the director cutting these scenes no matter how painful it may have been for pacing reasons.  But overall, awesome that there is that optional director’s commentary for these deleted or extended scenes.  There are eleven and quite lengthy as well.
  • Cracking the Case Documentary – A pretty length featurette on the actual filming, working with the talent and knowing how Steve Martin, Kevin Kline and director Shawn Levy worked out a lot of improvisation for this film.
  • Deconstructing the Panther – A featurette that goes into the planning for the film and what they wanted to accomplish to making it different from past Pink Panther films and creating that same magic for the new generation who may have not seen the past films.  Interviews with each major talent in the film and more.
  • Sleuth-Cam – Three behind-the-scenes lengthy footage of actual filming of several key scenes in the film. Literally a camera recording the whole process of the director and film staff recording, showing the talent of sections he wants to redo in the film and more.
  • Code Pink: Animated Graphics-in-Picture Track – This segment features the Pink Panther or Inspector Clouseau (animated) popping up with tidbits on the making of the film.  From references to Steve Martin’s moustache, historical facts on locations where the film was shot and more.
  • I really enjoyed “THE PINK PANTHER” film.  Mainly because of what Steve Martin brought to the table.  To say that Inspector Clouseau is an idiot is an understatement.  From the gags of trying to parallel park his miniature automobile and his ability to keep running and backing into the cars while trying to park, to being suspicious each time he walks into a room and thinking someone maybe hiding behind the curtains, his relation with his partner Ponton and his assistant Nicole. There is just this nice chemistry among the talent involved and they just made this film work!

    Jean Reno as Ponton can be seen as a rugged action star in a lot of the films he has been in, but to play this serious role together with Martin’s Clouseau was fun to watch.  In one scene, while in New York, both men had to share a bed.  Ponton is a private guy and takes things as is but because he doesn’t open up to Closeau, Clouseau tries to learn why Ponton never talks about women while they lay next to each other.

    And the lovely Emily Mortimer as Nicole was well-cast.  The sexual tension between her and Inspector Clouseau was well-done and again, another example of great chemistry in this film.  The hilarious moment in the film features Nicole fixing a painting and standing on the shelf.  Needing help to get down, Clouseau offers some help.  But being the clumsy guy that he is, somehow she ends up in a piggy back position but the opposite direction.  This is just an example of that sexual tension between the two characters which you get to see more as the film progresses.

    Also, Kevin Kline did a fantastic job as Chief Inspector Dreyfus.  Both Martin and Kline do a great job of improvising off each other and making their characters believable.  As for Beyonce Knowles in a major film role as Xania, Beyonce actually does a good job for her role.

    Granted, the film does poke some fun on the French language as Steve Martin’s job as Inspector Clouseau features him speaking with an accent.   One scene involves Inspector Clouseau and Ponton doing an investigation in New York City but before they can go, Clouseau had to learn English.    His most difficult word to say is “I want to eat a hamburger”, a phrase that he continues to butcher in pronunciation and eventually, plays a significant part in the film.  Granted, one may think that the French may get upset with the pokes on the French language but because it was hot in France, a lot of staff and talent from France were involved in this comedy.

    Another thing about the film that caught my eye was actually the director Shawn Levy.  Watching the special features, he brings a lot of energy to the film and what he wants to recreate.  He had a great relationship with each talent during the filming and how he meticulously took notes when Martin and Kline were improvising.  Also, to learn that Beyonce’s first acting role prior to the film, she was cast by Levy.   So, that was quite interesting to know.

    But I am just surprised by the wacky hijinks in this film.  There are a lot of them and I couldn’t help but laugh because these scenes were so hilarious.  It was an entertaining comedy and it’s great to know that a sequel will be shot in 2009.  Peter Sellers brought special charm to the original films but Steve Martin manages to not follow Sellers footsteps and recreate a new kind of character for Jacques Clouseau.  Entertaining, funny… Steve Martin was just wonderful in this film!

    As for the Blu-ray release, I was very impressed by the picture quality.  The coverage of Clouseau and Ponton all over France and the beautiful shot exteriors to the overall colors in the film were well-done and the audio quality to hear the popular Harry Mancini Pink Panther theme distributed in different channels through your speakers was quite interesting.  But where the Blu-ray shines is its ability to feature a lot of special features.

    These special features are lengthy and literally, with the number of featurettes and other footage included, you definitely get your money’s worth because so much is included on the Blu-ray disc.

    Overall, I have to say that this was a very solid and enjoyable Blu-ray release.  Great picture and audio quality and many special features to keep those who enjoyed the film quite busy.  For those who were as dedicated as the Travers version of the film, those “Pink Panther” films from the past will continue to be classics but for the new generation who have no familiarity to those films, the Steve Martin version of “Pink Panther” is enjoyable and hilarious.  So, you’ll definitely have a great time watching it!

    If you are a looking for a fun comedy film, definitely give “THE PINK PANTHER” a try.

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