The Pink Panther Blu-ray Review
The Pink Panther is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 ratio, 1080P/ AVC codec.
The transfer is clean and free from artefacts or noise. It's actually quite a sharp, clean image and it's generally not one to be found wanting in clarity. The colours are rich and bold and the Pink Panther has never looked pinker.
Textures come across well but the levels of detail are not as consistent as perhaps they should have been. Outdoor images are well lit and the detail easily shines through but the real issues come in the darker scenes. Shadow detail is not the greatest and whilst the blacks are average you do struggle to differentiate the finer details. In short the image just feels rather flat when it could quite easily have sparkled with life.
Nevertheless, it's a colourful image where it matters most with enough contrast that will help it stand out on most displays. Fleshtones are a little overripe but considering Clouseau is a larger than life cartoon of a character, I guess that's forgivable.
It's not the greatest of high definition presentations but it's good enough to score par for the course.
There are two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtracks on this film one being in English and the other in Italian. Czech, Russian, Hungarian and Polish only come as a straight Dolby Digital 5.1 offering.
Not only have Sony given this disc the lossless treatment but there's been some effort put into the mix. It's a surprisingly aggressive soundtrack and you get plenty of full channel activity to boot.
The dialogue and front stage blend together very well. There's a nice tonal balance to the actors voices and everything comes across with great clarity and precision. The surround channels get a surprising amount of work over as well. I really wasn't expecting much in the amount of ambience but needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.
LFE support is above average and it's got enough weight to give it a worthy presence. When Beyonce sings for example, the audio really does open up and you can appreciate the real depth of quality.
On the whole, this is a comfortably competent soundtrack.
There are a fair amount of extras included on the disc but disappointingly everything is presented in standard definition. There is an inclusion of a BDLive feature.
Code Pink: Animated Graphics in Picture Track -If you're the sort who likes to know about all the 'wacky' facts as you watch the movie then you may wish to switch this feature on. You'll get animated pop up boxes that appear quite regularly throughout the movie with all sorts of trivia knowledge relative to the film.
Commentary by Director Shawn Levy - This is a solo effort and the director is on his own here with no one to keep him company. Still, it's quite a perky audio commentary and Shawn never pauses for long so things keep moving swiftly along. On the whole he's very informative and it makes for a surprisingly entertaining complement. For a solo effort he's done well here and this is by far the best of the extra's.
Deleted Scenes - (24min 8secs) - There are a total of eleven deleted scenes. Given the short run time of the film the inclusion of any of these wouldn't have gone amiss. In fact most of these scenes could quite easily have been included and you've got a commentary from Shawn Levy explaining. Unfortunately though there is a large time-code displayed on the screen throughout so it may ruin the experience a little.
Cracking the Case - (22mins 5secs) - A feature basically revolving around Steve Martin and his role in the film. There's some background to the film and it's unsurprising that many of the cast try to support his performance. However it's clear from the man himself that he was not fully confident in playing Clouseau. Kevin Kline's input also suggests that all was not well behind the scenes so maybe it was not all as smooth running as suggested.
Animated Trip - (8mins 52secs) - The animators talk about how they went about recreating the opening titles and how they tried to keep them in the style of the original. There is also mention of the score and how important it was to time the animation to the music.
Deconstructing the Panther - (10mins 15secs) - Shawn Levy and the crew make comment on the final scenes of the film at the palace. You get to see the set being created and how the room was painstakingly set out. Pretty much standard behind the scenes stuff.
Sleuth Cams - (19mins 4secs) - These are three pure behind the scenes clips, “Killer” Press Conference, Soccer set up and Curtain Call. There is absolutely no commentary going on and it's all fly on the wall stuff. It's very handy cam like and feels almost like a home video.
Music Video Beyonce “Check on it” - (4mins 14secs) -Beyonce fans get to watch her in the full video of the song. She's no actress but she's great at music videos, lets just hope she sticks to that in future.
Extended Beyonce performance “A woman like me” - (4mins 34secs) - An extended version of a clip from the film where she performs this song. A Shawn Levy commentary is also available should you want to ruin the song and listen to him instead. What is that all about?
The original 1964 Pink Panther was quite probably Blake Edwards finest hour and with Peter Sellers taking so naturally to Inspector Jacques Clouseau the film was destined to be a sure fire hit. The pair of them though, could not recreate what they achieved in the first outing. Despite many attempts later, neither could anyone else for that matter. 'A Shot in the Dark' was probably the next best film and I guess the aptly named title became the pre-cursor to the slide of the franchise ever since. You know the old saying 'some things are best left untouched' and I guess there's some truth in that here.
Over 40 years later Steve Martin, Shawn Levy and co. took up the challenge and came up with this pseudo-amalgam of a revamp. Well, the 2006 effort is not great by any stretch of the imagination but pitched against what has intervened, it's actually a fairly respectable one. That's not to say that it's any good as in all instances it falls far short of the original movie. Perhaps a more selective cast and a more self assured Steve Martin would have helped to elevate it?
The blu-ray presentation is a solid effort with some surprisingly beefy audio support. The extras bumped onto the disc are presented in standard definition so surprisingly fail to take advantage of all that the medium has to offer. On the technical front though the disc is still a respectable effort.
However, the substance of the matter must take precedent here and in that regard the revamp is found wanting in far too many areas to hold a candle. It is funny, many of you will laugh and be entertained but it's not really a film worthy of the tag and it'll probably have you reaching for the back catalogue.
So, whereas the original Pink Panther was a flawless pink diamond, the 2006 version is just not up for comparison. I'm afraid this one actually turns out to be a flawed cubic zirconium.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99
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