'The Pink Panther 2' pratfalls on to Region A locked Blu-ray with a stunning AVC/MPEG-4 transfer that's framed in a theatrically correct 1.85:1 presentation. There are so many other movies out there that are worthy of such a gorgeous picture, that it seems wasted on such a feeble movie as 'PP2'.
The movie itself is brightly and evenly lit, making it a good candidate for a first class transfer right from the outset. The colours are truly vibrant and pleasing to the eye. The skin tones possess a lifelike realism, going from Alfred Molina's British pallor to Andy Garcia's Hollywood tan with no loss of fidelity. There are very few night time scenes, but in the ones we have, the blacks are deep and solid with great contrast throughout the whole movie. Levels of detail are excellent, particularly in the night time 'tourist' shots of Paris. I wasn't aware of film grain, but the movie still retains a filmic feel. No noticeable ringing around contours or faces made me feel that someone had left the sharpening tool alone, yet the image was pin sharp with the famous 3D 'pop' that we were so fond of mentioning in the past in relation to blu-ray movies.
Overall, this is a very good transfer indeed.
'The Pink Panther 2' benefits from a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel surround track and, being such a recent movie, the sound is pretty much faultless although unspectacular in its presentation.
Dialogue is crisp and clear, so Clouseau's 'Franglais' is easily decipherable and it's all locked cleanly to the centre channel. Surrounds are used mainly to provide general hubbub, including traffic noise, gunfire etc - but none of it fights with the dialogue for your attention. The main stereo pair swing into action with the iconic Pink Panther theme that lifts your heart though not the overall production. I was only very occasionally aware of the subwoofer kicking in to add to the mix with the odd bang here or there.
A good, if undemanding mix that won't cause the neighbours much grief.
'The Pink Panther 2' comes as a 3 disc set. On disc 1 we have the Blu-ray movie and extras while on disc 2 we have the almost obligatory digital copy for those who'd prefer to watch it on a laptop or PC . Disc 3 is a DVD containing 27 original Depatie-Freleng Pink Panther cartoons that aired on TV in the 1970's onwards. They are of a grainy quality but fans of the pink fellow will love them.
I could find no evidence of a Director's commentary anywhere, so I guessed that Harald Zwart was doing the right thing and keeping his head down.
The bonus material on Disc 1 is as follows:
- Gag Reel (SD, 3 mins)
This is a short collection of out-takes from the movie strung together with the Pink Panther theme playing as an underscore. Some of it is quite amusing, but it's the usual fare of blown lines and mis-haps that we see rather a lot of in movie extras these days.
- Drama is Easy, Comedy is Dangerous (HD, 8 mins)
A short featurette including interviews with cast and crew, with some 'behind the scenes' footage, explaining how they customised the Clouseau character for Steve Martin's strengths. Ernie Orsatti, the stunt co-ordinator on the movie tells us about some of the stunts and the fact that Steve Martin did a lot of them. I'm always doubtful of this type of comment, due to an 'insurance man' being on set to ensure nothing puts the Completion Guarantee at risk.
- A Dream Team like no other (HD, 14 mins)
Another featurette with Producer, Robert Simonds, Director Harald Zwart and cast re-telling the story in their own words (Why? It's not as if it's complicated, but they were probably thinking of the American audience).
John Cleese and Jean Reno describe Steve Martin's genius for physical comedy as does Lily Tomlin.
- Master Thief - Global Crime showdown
This is a game with fun for a whole family of kleptomaniacs. You select an artefact from the world map, that you'd like to steal by answering three questions. Get 2 out of 3 correct and it's yours. You can challenge other players for their artefacts. Win 3 artefacts and you can then go for the Pink Panther Diamond.
'The Pink Panther 2' sneaks on to Blu-ray with an absolutely lovely AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed at 1.85:1. We're treated to great colours, contrast, sharpness, deep blacks and fine detail throughout.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is good if unspectacular for a recent movie but we get clear dialogue and gentle use of surrounds that make for pleasant listening.
Nice transfer and sound - shame about the movie. It's not Steve Martin, or anyone else's, finest hour as a great cast is let down by a script that's pretty much devoid of wit, humour or intelligence.
A few extras give us a glimpse behind the scenes, while we also get a Digital copy of the movie on Disc 2 and a pile of Pink Panther cartoons on Disc 3.
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