Judge Joel Pearce ees speeking in a reedeeculous French accent.
Our review of The Pink Panther, published June 20th, 2006, is also available.
Get a Clue
Before I get into reviewing The Pink Panther, I have a confession to make. This is the first exposure I've really had to the Pink Panther franchise, aside from playing the theme song in high school. I realize additional exposure would help me review the film more accurately, but I am sure I'm not the only one in this boat. Given my experience with this film, I'm not sure I want to dive any deeper.
Facts of the Case
Newly appointed Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin, Cheaper by the Dozen) is the worst police officer in France. When a soccer coach is murdered during a game and the Pink Panther diamond disappears, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline, Fierce Creatures) chooses Clouseau to take on the case, thinking he will be able to take over the case when Clouseau screws it up. Of course, Dreyfus could probably just take the case, but it wouldn't make for a full movie. Clouseau is paired with Ponton (Jean Reno, Godzilla, a competent officer who is to follow him around at all times. Much silliness ensues.
Humor is, of course, subjective. That said, somewhere along the way, a group of people must have sat down together to decide what they find funny. In that conversation, several things must have been added to the list:
1. American actors speaking in bad French accents
To be fair, I do actually like two of these three things. Steve Martin has had an admittedly spotty career, but his good moments are truly awesome. This, however, is Martin at his least appealing. Clouseau lacks the delicacy, warmth, and intelligence of his greatest work. I also like slapstick comedy when it's done well, though I only found myself laughing here a handful of times. Maybe it's because each of the jokes is set up too plainly ahead of time. Maybe it's because it started with that ridiculous gag with the siren clocking the old lady. I dunno. It just didn't work for me.
I have no answer for the fake accent thing. Indeed, I'm not sure what's more baffling: Kevin Kline's oscillations between French and British, the fact that they thought a whole cast of non-French talking English in France would be funny, or the casting of a lone Frenchman, Jean Reno, to draw attention to this decision. I realize this recalls the original Pink Panther movies, but I can't help but wonder if this is something that should have been changed in the original. Also, I have to wonder: Did Beyonce get the only non-accent role because she refused, or because her accent was even worse than the others? The world will probably never know.
Either way, I don't plan to return to this film anytime soon. As I said before, it also doesn't make me want to go back and watch the original series, though I have no doubt Peter Sellers' take on Clouseau was probably a good deal more entertaining. Somehow, though, The Pink Panther made enough money to warrant a sequel, coming soon to a theatre near you.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Of course, now that the sequel is coming out, we get to see The Pink Panther on Blu-ray. Fans of the film will be pleased with the transfer, which is as good as can be expected for a recent film. The whole image looks ever so slightly washed out, but the detail and grain are what we can expect from a big-budget film. The same is true of the sound, which delivers exactly what we expect in the Dolby TrueHD track. The dialogue is clear, the music is mixed well, and the LFE even kicks in a few times for good measure.
In terms of special features, the only exclusive feature is a trivia track that pops up with images from the cartoon of the Pink Panther. I find these features distracting and annoying, but I can see how fans of The Pink Panther might want to take an extra run through the film. Aside from that, we get the same special features as the DVD, in standard definition. A commentary with director Shawn Levy, some deleted scenes, a music video, and a smattering of featurettes should keep fans busy, except they will have probably experienced all this already with the previous release.
If you really like the film, I suppose this is a worthwhile upgrade from the DVD for the transfer quality. It's not going to change anyone's mind, though, and my personal opinion is that this is yet another completely unnecessary example of Hollywood showing more interest in box office returns than artistic integrity.
The cast and crew are very guilty, and will serve maximum sentence. Sony is
released this time on the strength of the Blu-Ray disc, but that doesn't mean
I'm looking forward to a second helping.
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