Monday, February 20, 2006

New Pink Panther: unfunny disaster or genius propaganda?

Peter Sellers must be spinning in his grave right now. Why? Because Hollywood has decided that people can’t watch his films via DVD and they’ve remade a film character that no one else should ever touch. I’m talking about Inspector Clouseau, the lovable, bumbling French detective.

Hollywood will remake anything they are so out of ideas. They’ll re-do b-films or horror films from the ‘70s (A Race With the Devil, The Omen, The Hills Have Eyes), bad ‘70s TV (come on, did we really need to see Bo and Luke Duke jump over trains and bodies of water while yelling “Yeehaw!” on the big screen?) and even classics like Charade, Psycho and The Pink Panther have been redone.

I guess the target audience is people that have never seen the originals, but in this day and age of home theatres and more avenues to rent films that recreate the theatre experience—there’s really no need at all for this many films to be remade.

Hollywood wonders why box office is plummeting? The product is nothing but sequels, remakes, bloated action films and movies so chopped up while they try to achieve as many target audience checkpoints as possible that movies ends up bland and uninteresting. These remakes do not engage or take the audience new places—they are just treading the same manufactured path that’s been filmed over and over and it has to stop!

It’s sad that these movies keep getting made and it’s even sadder that films as wretched and unfunny have a lot of people going to see them as just one hit from a remake or sequel will spawn a dozen imitators. But the general public have low standards I guess, as people were saying that this was funny as I left the theatre. That makes me question the future of our nation as a whole if people like this garbage.

The 2006 Pink Panther has Steve Martin taking over for Peter Sellers. Martin, who used to be funny, has decided he wants to make only the blandest, most unoriginal comedies possible. Maybe all his banjo playing and writing novellas has zapped the funny right out of him? Something has caused him to go downhill and in a hurry.

The story is just a collection of obvious physical comedy bits that makes Clouseau to be an even bigger nitwit than the Blake Edwards’ Clouseau. Sellers Clouseau was not stupid but a bit clumsy and a bit obtuse. Martin plays Clouseau as someone slightly deranged who might struggle to defeat Forrest Gump in a battle for who has the top I.Q.

Martin’s fake French accent is annoying from the first word he utters. Beyonce shows up to wear slinky dresses, sing a few songs and whose role is evidence of exactly what I was talking about earlier—target audience marketing. Her scenes were more like a video or commercial than an acting performance. The script probably described her character as "famous singer" and only later did they even attach a name to it.

But was there another, more sinister force at play regarding this latest version of The Pink Panther? I got the feeling while watching The Pink Panther that it was made by George W. Bush and the current administration as payback for the way the French acted in the early days of the Iraqi War. Remember the way the French acted all high and mighty?

Think about it for a second as it makes perfect sense. Bush, Cheney, Rove etc are masters of the slight of hand. How else can you explain how these people get away with all their shady shenanigans over and over? The release date for The Pink Panther is perfect. Cheney shoots some old Republican flunky in the face with a shotgun and what happens? Bam. The Pink Panther comes out making the French look like idiots, diversion successful.

What better way to make a country look foolish than making a movie full of nothing but French imbeciles (played by American actors adopting goofy French accents) who spend ninety minutes going on about French this and France that while wearing berets, funny socks and acting like morons? Millions of Americans and others around the world would see it in a theatre or buy the DVD no matter how unfunny it is. A simple press conference knocking the French would disappear quicker than snow in the Sahara but unleashing Clouseau onto an unsuspecting world? That’s genius.

So, as an unfunny propaganda film full of furious payback for French actions regarding complex political, military actions the new Pink Panther is quite a success. If you don’t buy into that, it’s just another lame, unfunny remake of a far superior film that people should avoid if at all possible. It's your choice.


Janet said...

I haven't seen this remake, but my dad has developed an overnight hatred of all things Steve Martin. I blame Pink Panther. Apparently he thinks the remake is downright WRONG.

Eddiejon said...

One of the worst films ever made.Peter Sellers had a most original character, and bungling tenacity that should have never been copied or challenged by anyone in the first place. Shame on you Steve Martin.And as for Hollywood film producing; they have finally gone done the crapper.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Yes Eddiejon!