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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Pink Panther



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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 08 2009 - 04:04 PM

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MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 2.20:1480i or 480p standard definition and 1080p high definitionAudioDTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1, French 5.1StereoSubtitlesSpanish, Portuguese, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, ThaiEnglish (on select materials)

The Feature: 4/5
A master jewel thief dubbed "The Phantom" (David Niven) has been successfully robbing the world's wealthy for years. Having pursued him from the beginning, accident-prone Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) successfully predicts the Phantom's next target - the Pink Panther, a priceless pink diamond owned by Princess Dala of Lugash (Claudia Cardinale). Unfortunately, for perhaps as long as the Phantom has been working, Clouseau's wife Simone (Capucine) has been working with him, sharing both his bed and his ill-gotten fortune. It explains how she affords the expensive mink coats, though Clouseau remains blissfully unaware of her secondary source of income. But, for all of his bumbling ignorance, Clouseau may still foil the Pink Panther heist, thanks to a bit of dumb luck and an unexpected turn of events that neither side could have anticipated.

It's easy to see why "The Pink Panther" spawned several sequels and a merchandising empire. The most obvious reason is Sellers, whose gift for physical comedy made Inspector Clouseau synonymous with the Pink Panther franchise. His hilarious portrayal, combined with the character taking a less central role in his initial outing, simply made audiences want to see more. And of course Director Blake Edwards and the producers were more than happy to oblige. The canny decision to animate the film's credit sequence also resulted in a highly marketable figure that could be sold as-is in animated shorts or attached to something as unrelated as rolls of housing insulation. With such ubiquity (and now a hard-to-fathom remake and sequel to that remake) it's inevitable that the original film gets diminished in our collective memory. Thankfully all it takes is a rental or purchase to bring us back to when the franchise was still fresh and new.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
Faint scratches and occasional white specks keep the film from looking completely "fresh and new," but even so you'd never think the film is now 45 years old. Presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, black levels, contrast, color depth and color rendition are uniformly excellent. Grain structure is also nicely preserved, a bit more visible in some shots than others, but nothing film enthusiasts will complain about. There is some slight haloing along high contrast edges, most visible during the snow scenes, but not to the point of distraction. A handful of shots also appear a touch soft, though all indications point to it being source-related, given the picture's excellent overall sharpness and clarity.


Audio Quality: 3/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is front-heavy in the mix. In fact, I don't think I heard any engagement of the surrounds . The soundfield is spread sufficiently wide to give a good sense of space however, particularly during the farcical car chase sequence. By contrast the 224 kbps mono track is tightly focused to the center and lacks the ambience of the multichannel mix.

Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible, though the age of the film comes through in some lo-fi edginess to voices and some of the sound effects.


Special Features: 2.5/5
The special features package includes two items from the 2004 DVD edition and a few new pieces, in high definition.

Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Blake Edwards: Edwards admits about two-thirds through the movie that commentary is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. It's certainly not his strong suit and given what he shares, it's obvious a documentary interview would have been a better vehicle for his thoughts and recollections. Fortunately there is "The Pink Panther Story" documentary, that contains some of the same information.

"The Pink Panther Story" (28m42s): The 2004 documentary looks back on how the film came together and includes interviews with Edwards, members of the crew and studio executives. The piece also touches on the contentious relationship between Sellers and Edwards and the subsequent films in the franchise. In 4:3 standard definition.

"Behind the Feline: The Cartoon Phenomenon" (10m51s): Animator David De Patie explains how the animated feline came to be. In 4:3 standard definition.

"The Coolest Cat in Cortina: Robert Wagner" (10m53s): Wagner reflects on his experience on the set and shares his thoughts about his castmates. In high definition.

"The Tip-Toe Life of A Cat Burglar: A Conversation with Former Jewel Thief Bill Mason" (9m43s): Mason and author Lee Gruenfeld, who co-wrote "Confessions of A Master Jewel Thief," highlight some of Mason's past exploits, which include robbing Phyliss Diller, ripping off the Cleveland mafia, and a one million dollar heist on the 17th floor of a Florida highrise. Though interesting, I was a little uncomfortable with how glamourous (and largely free of consequences) they made it all sound. In high definition.

"Diamonds: Beyond the Sparkle" (6m53s): A brief look at some of the most famous diamonds in the world, including the Koh-I-Noor, the Hope, and the Cullinan. In high definition.

Theatrical Trailer (3m50s): In high definition with stereo audio.

Movie Cash: Worth up to $7.50 to see "The Pink Panther 2" starring Steve Martin.


Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

A classic, franchise and merchandise-generating farce gets excellent video, acceptable audio and a so-so special features package.
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#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 13 2009 - 06:04 AM

NM
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#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted February 17 2009 - 03:56 AM

In the most recent dvd I have (which came out about 5 years ago in that set) I noticed for the first time how many film artifacts the movie suffered from. There were white burns in the lens throughout entire sequences. I couldn't tell, at the time, if those were due to bad principal photography, or bad dvd mastering. The white "holes" in the picture popped up throughout the length of the film. I know they were evident in the "Meglio Stasera" musical number...again in the costume ball sequence...and a dozen other places too.

Does anyone know if those lens burns are in the bluray or did they try to fix them? Does anyone even know what I'm talking about? lol
 

 


#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 19 2009 - 01:39 PM

Quote:
Does anyone know if those lens burns are in the bluray or did they try to fix them? Does anyone even know what I'm talking about? lol
I asked Robert Harris about the translucent oval marks I saw periodically and his guess was a "wet gate artifact."

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