I’ve not lost faith. I’ve sat through Cheaper By The Dozen 2, Bringing Down The House and a host of movies that could tempt you to lose it, but I still firmly believe that Steve Martin is one of the most talented comedy performers on the planet. Granted, he’s not made a strong comedy film since Bowfinger, but he can still raise a grin even in the midst of the most turgid of films.
But The Pink Panther isn’t a turgid movie. It’s not a great one, but it’s functional, and occasionally quite funny. Granted, you barely give two hoots about it by the time the third act kicks in, but with thanks to Martin’s reasonable take on Inspector Clouseau, and support from the likes of the always-watchable Kevin Kline, it’s a passable enough remake. I should point out that I love the Peter Sellers originals, and wouldn’t swap them for this, but it’s still not too bad a way to spend an hour or two in front of the telly.
I do find it staggering, though, that in a world where major releases get sloppy releases bereft of extra features, they’ve really gone to town on The Pink Panther. Okay, the majority of the features on this disc were ported across from the DVD, but they’ve even gone to the trouble of doing a Blu-ray exclusive in-picture trivia track, complete with Pink Panther animation. It’s a bit annoying, but plenty of marks for effort.
Likewise, the extras package is surprisingly strong. I really enjoyed director Shawn Levy’s commentary, which had real insight into how to put a big Hollywood comedy together. Granted, there’s an element of everything is great about it, but when he’s pointing out how certain sequences were glued together, and how the actors filmed their material in the same scene thousands of miles apart, you can’t help but get engaged.
He’s also a welcome guide to the generous dollop of deleted scenes, and the disc is further strengthened by the inclusion of three featurettes. Sleuth cams, meanwhile, I liked too. This is just the filming of a scene being shot, with no commentary, introductions or attempt to fluff things up. It might not be to everyone’s taste, and the footage looks scrappy, but personally, I like material such as this.
The disc also features Beyonce having a sing-song. She seems to be having a nice time, too.
As for the presentation of the film itself, things don’t go quite so well. While it’s an upgrade over the DVD, the picture quality you’d have to say is decent at best. It just looks a bit washed out, and in need of a bit more work. The surround sound track is very clear, although not hugely active. But it does the job.
In all, The Pink Panther is a bit of an odd choice for a Blu-ray upgrade, and the usual argument kicks in that it doesn’t offer too much extra over the DVD. But some effort has gone in here, and that makes the disc one that’s hard to sneer at. Unless you didn’t like the film…
The Film:The Disc: