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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2013

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"Dick Tracy" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Dick Tracy (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

When mob boss Big Boy Caprice unites all the city's worst criminals, it's up to Dick Tracy to clean up the streets.  He pursues Big Boy to his Club Ritz but can't find enough evidence to make an arrest.  Then he is captured and narrowly escapes death thanks to The Kid, an orphan who steps in just in time.  Tracy manages to plant a bug in Big Boy's lair and starts taking down his organization.  Just as things start to turn Tracy's way, Big Boy discovers the bug and lures him to an abandoned warehouse.  A mysterious bad guy known only as The Blank steps in and seems to be setting up both Big Boy and Tracy for a fall.  When Tracy's true love Tess is kidnapped, it forces a final showdown.  Tracy manages to save Tess and Blank's true identity is revealed.  Big Boy falls to his death and good returns to the city as Tracy finally works up the courage to marry Tess.

Specifications

  • Touchstone
  • 1990, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 46 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Madonna
  • Directed by: Warren Beatty
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

The plot is a bit convoluted, as the synopsis shows, but Dick Tracy is a very entertaining film.  I remember reading the comic in a local newspaper in my youth and this movie captures the feel of the original very well.  Even the look is pure comic strip.  There are lots of primary colors; everything is a simple art deco style; and there isn't a lot of clutter to distract the viewer from the action.  Warren Beatty does an excellent job as both the hero and the director.  My only complaint is the unevenness of the editing.  The scene-to-scene flow isn't always smooth and you can't always be sure which scene is advancing the plot and which is not.  Overall though, it's a lot of fun and the unique cinematography more than makes up for the occasional confusion.  And while Madonna is not usually applauded for her film roles, I thought she did a good job here.  She was perfectly cast as sultry singer Breathless Mahoney.

Technical

While the image looks very clean, there seems to be a general haze over everything.  This is unfortunate because color is such an important part of the storytelling.  It may have been due to excessive digital scrubbing because the picture did seem slightly soft.  Contrast was flat and dark scenes never quite reached black.  I did enjoy the amazing makeup worn by many of the characters though.  This came off very well both in close-up shots and wider scenes.  There was no apparent edge enhancement and detail was never crushed.

The DTS-MA audio is the best part of this presentation.  The transparency, especially in the music, really opened everything up.  Surrounds were used sparingly but the enormous front sound stage created an excellent sense of immersion.  I loved the music, both Danny Elfman's score and Madonna's excellent performances have never sounded better.

Extras

Aside from the digital copy, the only extra is a series of trailers for upcoming films.