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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Pink Panther (2006)


Starring: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno and Beyoncé Knowles
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 12
Available 09 February 2009

Inspector Clouseau, the hapless, bungling detective with the overwrought French accent, is called on to solve a high-profile crime, making a series of clumsy missteps along the way. A famous soccer coach meets an untimely death, leaving behind Xania, his beautiful and famous fiancee. Not only has Xania lost her intended, but she also finds that her engagement ring, the fabled pink panther diamond, is missing. Inspector Closeau's boss, Inspector Dreyfus, decides to give the case to his incompetent inferior, scheming to take over the case at just the right moment in order to win the coveted Medal of Honour. Clouseau tackles the case as only he can, destroying evidence, fumbling names and pronunciations, insulting victims...

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about watching The Pink Panther. As a kid I loved Peter Sellers's Inspector Clouseau, and really couldn't imagine anyone else taking on the role without making a total mess of it. This 2006 film is only loosely based on the original - which is just as well, as a doubt that a faithful remake would have faired quite so well.

To be totally fair Steve Martin is about the best choice to play Clouseau and, while he's not Sellers, he turns in a fairly good performance.

The script ranges from good to poor. There are a few too many gags that just don't work as well as they probably looked on paper. But then, equally, there are a number of jokes that come alive on the screen which would not have been amusing on the page (the camouflage joke, for example).

While all of the actors turn in admirable performances, I felt that Jean Reno' Ponton was the only actor that seems out of place. He's very underused, and just doesn't seem to fit in as a character.

There are numerous elements from the original that the writers tried to keep in, presumably as a homage, although why they bothered with the Cato fight references is not clear. They're not really that funny in this version and I couldn't help feeling it was a missed opportunity to have more humorous fight sequences.

Extras include Code Pink: Animated Graphics-in-Picture Track (which, when activated, sees textual information, about the making of the movie, appear on the screen); Commentary by Director Shawn Levy; Deleted Scenes (24 min, 08 sec with optional director's commentary); Cracking the Case (22 min, 05 sec behind the scenes featurette); Animated Trip (8 min, 52 sec look at the making of the animated title sequence); Deconstructing the Panther (10 min, 15 sec look at the preparation for filming of the final sequence in the palace); Sleuth Cams (3 x raw behind the scenes footage featurettes: "Killer" Press Conference (5 min, 22 sec); Soccer Set-up (6 min, 55 sec); and Curtain Call (6 min, 47 sec)); Music Video: Beyonce "Check it Out" (4 min, 14 sec); and Extended Beyonce Performance: "A Woman Like Me" (4 min, 34 sec - with optional director's commentary).

While far from the travesty it could have been, The Pink Panther is not going to win any serious awards. It's a movie full of silly visual gags and plenty of accent jokes. But, on balance, it's much better than it could have been.


Pete Boomer

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