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DVD Review: The Return of the Pink Panther

I must confess that I don't really know much about The Pink Panther saga, so I can't really fill you in on the movies leading up to The Return of the Pink Panther. Thus, I'll just jump right in to this film. We are introduced to the Pink Panther, who is neither person nor animal, but rather a very rare diamond. Its said that if one looks through the diamond at just the right spot, one can see the image of a pouncing pink panther. It's also supposedly so rare that its monetary value cannot even be estimated, and thus it's kept in a museum with the upmost tightest security measures... or so they say. I know this was made in like 1975, but even so it just seems like the security measures for a diamond that valuable were pretty weak.

Let me explain. First, there are few guards wandering the halls, and not one of them is assigned to guard the room for the entire shift. Then there are beams of light surrounding the diamond's display area that when broken will sound an alarm and close off the room with strong metal plating. Of course, there is plenty of room between the beams of light to maneuver. Why didn't they make it just a solid wall of light? And finally, there is a pressure sensor under the diamond, so that when it's lifted the alarms will sound and the metal plating will activate. Okay... but why wasn't there a pressure sensor for the little class display cover that fits over the diamonds pedestal? And finally, the museum tour guide even went so far as to give a complete demonstration of how their security procedures work.

The Return of the Pink Panther Next we're introduced to a mysterious thief dressed all in black, who "stealthily" breaks into the museum and steals the Pink Panther. And by stealthily I mean the loudest professional thief I've ever heard. CLICK! That's her crossbow cocking. SMACK! That's the crossbow's arrow smashing into the wall. CLANK! Those are her metal mechanical arm tools used to help her snatch the diamond from its perch. And yes, I've implied the thief was a she, because this becomes obvious when you see her running away after the alarms sound. No man can run like that, not unless they have really small... parts. At any rate, the invaluably rare Pink Panther has been stolen, and then main clue left at the crime scene is a white glove, the trademark of the world-renowned jewel thief, the Phantom. Desperate to find the diamond, they bring in the one man that recovered the Pink Panther the last time it was stolen, the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

The Return of the Pink Panther Now, the Phantom (also known as Sir Charles Litton) supposedly retired four years ago, and it soon becomes clear that his retirement was not exagerated. He was not the mysterious thief who stole the Pink Panther, but since everyone thinks he did, he has little choice but to set out and discover who is setting him up. And his investigation goes well, much better than Inspector Clouseau's, but that's probably because their investigations don't overlap until the very end. And that's kind of what makes this movie not quite as funny as I would have expected. You see, Inspector Clouseau's scenes are hilarious, but ONLY Inpsector Clouseau's scenes. Any other scenes in the movie isn't funny, and wasn't made to be funny. So while Inpsector Clouseau provides the laughs, Charles Litton moves the story along, and neither overlaps until the end.

The Return of the Pink Panther There were a lot of good laughs, but they were spread out, and never contributed anything to the story. I would have much rather seen Inpsector Clouseau bumbling up Charles Litton's investigations, so that Litton had to not only find out who was framing him, but do it will dealing with all the trouble Clouseau brings along wherever he goes. I'm sure that would have made this a much better comedy. There is also a little side plot about Clouseau's boss trying to kill him, and although those instances are quite funny, they are also quite short. Ah, and I almost forgot, there are no extras on this DVD. None. Not even previews of other movies, which was disappointing because I would have liked to have seen some footage from the other films in the series. But oh well.

The Return of the Pink Panther was released by MCA Home Video on DVD starting January 10, 2006. It stars Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, Christopher Plummer as Sir Charles Litton, Catherine Schell as Lady Claudine Litton, Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, Peter Arne as Colonel Sharky, Peter Jeffrey as General Wadafi, and Grégoire Aslan as Police Chief Lundallah.

Image Gallery: The Return of the Pink Panther

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