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Although THE PINK PANTHER 2 ($40) is not a comic masterpiece, and received fairly negative reviews from film critics at the time of its theatrical release, I will admit that I did giggle quite consistently at Steve Martinís buffoonery during the filmís running time. Perhaps I am biased, as I am a long time Steve Martin fan, and think that ROXANNE, L.A. STORY and even DEAD MAN DONíT WEAR PLAID are amongst some of the most inspired comedies of the last few decades. And while THE PINK PANTHER 2 may not measure up to Martinís better films, it does deserve a spin on home video. What I like about Martinís performance, as Inspector Clouseau, is that he does not try to ape Peter Sellers. Martin imbues the character with more of his own personality and takes a slightly gentler approach to the physical comedy. Of course, Martinís Clouseau is still the accident-prone clown, but he is a decidedly different clown than Sellers.

As THE PINK PANTHER 2 opens we find that Inspector Jacques Clouseau on special assignment- handing out parking ticketsÖ just as a rash of high profile international thefts begin. Making off with such treasures as the Magna Carta in London, the Turin Shroud in Turin, and the Imperial Sword in Kyoto, the crimes are traced back to a retired master thief, known as The Tornado, who has left behind his calling card at each crime scene. Since no one has ever been able to identify The Tornado in the decade since he last struck, international authorities remain baffled by the crimes. The reappearance of The Tornado results in the assembly of a Dream Team of Detectives to locate him, as well as the stolen treasures. Much to the dismay of Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese), Clouseau is asked to join the Dream Team, whose members include Chief Inspector Randall Pepperidge (Alfred Molina) Inspector Vicenzo Brancaleone (Andy GarcŪa) and Inspector Kenji Mazuto (Yuki Matsuzaki). Of course, the second Clouseau leaves French territory; The Tornado steals The Pink Panther, which makes finding The Tornado doubly important to the French detective. The cast of THE PINK PANTHER 2 also features Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Aishwarya Rai, Lily Tomlin and Jeremy Irons.

MGM Home Entertainment through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE PINK PANTHER 2 available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. No matter what one thinks of THE PINK PANTHER 2 as a movie, the gorgeous 1080p presentation cannot be faulted. The image is wonderfully crisp, dimensional and produces excellent levels of fine detail and texturing. Colors are vibrant, fully saturated and quite beautiful, while the flesh tones appear wholly appealing. Blacks are inky, whites are pure, plus the picture sports very smooth contrast and admirable shadow detail. The elements from which THE PINK PANTHER 2 have been mastered are free from flaws. Grain is very minimal, but the image never appears to have been over-processed.

THE PINK PANTHER 2 is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is a somewhat better than average comedy mix, with environmental sounds coming across in a convincing and enveloping manner. However, most of THE PINK PANTHER 2 plays in talky comedy mode, so much of what one hears is localized front and center. The surround channels produce the usual complement of ambient sounds and musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encode, the musical component has wonderful fidelity, with Henry Manciniís classic theme music getting the greatest boost. The bass channel has little to do, other than keeping the sound effects grounded. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and easy to understand, except when intentionally over-accented English comes into play. French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Featurettes include the following programs: Drama Is Easy, Comedy Is Dangerous (eight minutes) and A Dream Team Like No Other (fourteen minutes). A Gag Reel and Interactive Game close out disc oneís supplements. Disc two offers twenty-seven Depatie-Freleng Pink Panther Cartoons. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided on disc three.

THE PINK PANTHER 2 may not be a comic masterpiece or representative of Steve Martinís best work, but does induce some family friendly giggles. The Blu-ray is gorgeous and cannot be faulted in any way.



Pink Panther 2 [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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