Friday, March 23, 2012

Pink Panther remake

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the movie when I first saw it, I mean, it's got quite the pedigree to live up to, ya know? But I also had to consider: Did I really want to see an exact clone of the original movie?

I was happy that Steve Martin played the part of Clouseau. I felt that if there was only one guy who could pull of this movie, it was him. I'm not sure if he did pull it off, though. Years later, and my jury is still out on that subject. I hasn't too happy about Beyonce, since she was obviously only added for sex appeal (and I personally don't find simply not wearing clothes to be all that "sexy," not to mention the fact that I don't think she's nearly as pretty as everyone seems to think she is. Oh well, to half-remember a quote from Ringworld: the minority is always insane.)
Anyway... moving on...

I wanted to review the movie in a context that didn't pit it against the originals, and I finally realized that that would be impossible, so I will try and be as unbiased as I can be, but I will, of necessity, have to compare it to the originals.

The movie runs at a much faster, more modern, pace. Sometimes that was just fine, but at others it made the movie feel too rushed. Not so much that it was a major distraction, but it was a distraction. They also threw in a lot more action, ("a lot" being relative, considering that the originals contained zero to none... discounting the Cato fight scenes, which were arguably the best parts of the original movies,) which was a mixed blessing.

I was sorry to see that Cato was not included in the movie, but he didn't show up in the originals either until the third movie. (I think it was the third movie, at least. I'm too lazy to double-check.) I was also kinda surprised that Clouseau's assistant wasn't Hercule. Not that he was in very many of the originals, but you'd think that they'd go for whatever ties they could get.

The opening credits were nice... I guess. They had a few good moments, but, really, they needed a lot more work. They seemed choppy. The originals were always fluid and almost told a story by themselves. This new opening was just a bunch of random scenes.

But my biggest beef with this re-make is the fact that Clouseau actually solved the mystery all by himself. In the originals, one of the parts that made the Pink Panther movies what they were was the fact that it was this entirely incompetent detective (after the first movie, at least,) who manages to solve the mystery in spite of his detective skills. It's as though his poor detective skills which always led him in the wrong direction managed to paradoxically be exactly what he needed to solve the case. But in this new one, even though he was mostly incompetent, he was still able to use his brain and real detective skills to solve the case on his own. That's not how Clouseau is. I may not have wanted a clone of the originals, but if there is one thing they shouldn't have changed, it was that.

That being said, I did enjoy the movie. It was consistently funny, as is to be expected of Steve Martin. (Steve Martin did do an excellent job, I'm just not sure he did an excellent job being Clouseau.) There were more than a few parts that had me laughing hard enough to miss hearing a few lines and even the "groaner" jokes weren't all that bad.

Bottom Line: The movie did, more or less, what I expected of it: It made me laugh. Was it a great movie? No. Was it a good movie? Yes. Is it a true or a worthy successor to the originals? Well... That's quite a different question. I would say... somewhat. I don't think that it's nearly as good as the originals, but, having said that, I do think that it could stand amongst the originals and not be ashamed, if nothing else. (After all, it was a lot better than "Son of the Pink Panther." Make of that what you will.)

P.S. In case you are curious, I have not seen the second Steve Martin P.P. movie, and I'm not sure when I will get around to it, so I am not commenting on its quality at all.

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