‘Dick Tracy’ Blu-ray Review

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dick tracy

One of the best comic book films of all time has finally arrived on blu-ray, courtesy of Walt Disney Home Video. Warren Beatty’s ‘Dick Tracy‘ was made in a time when comic book films weren’t very prevalent, so the few that were released made them all the more exciting. Seeing the characters many grew up reading, for the first time on the big screen, living and breathing, was huge. Few films captured the aesthetic and feel of the comic it was based on nearly as well as ‘Dick Tracy’ did. Beatty, who wrote and directed the film, surrounded himself with an all star cast including Al Pacino, Dick Van Dyke, Madonna, and Dustin Hoffman, creating one of cinema’s most exciting ensembles. Thankfully, ‘Dick Tracy’ has arrived on blu-ray sporting an excellent transfer and audio track, really bringing the film to life like never before.

Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is  one of the world’s greatest detectives. He has a loving girlfriend, Tess (Glenne Headly), but he can’t quit seem to commit to being more than her boyfriend. Then Tracy’s life gets turned upside down when a street orphan, who calls himself Kid (Charlie Korsmo), ends up in his life.  But that’s only the beginning, as Tracy goes after Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino), a ruthless mobster bent on taking completely power over the city, and a woman named Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) threatens his relationship with Tess by  trying to come between them. Can Tracy save the city, save the Kid, and save his relationship with Tess? If one man can do it, he can.

This is really a special little movie. Beatty really put his heart and soul into the film, trying to bring Chester Gould’s characters to life. The results are nothing short of spectacular. Beatty made sure his cast really came off as their comic book counterparts, and everyone does a great job at doing so. Beatty is excellent as Tracy, really becoming the character. It’s a great role for him, and it’s a shame we didn’t see him return to it, because he really gets the character and fits him. But it’s really Pacino who is the standout in the film, bringing Big Boy Caprice to life in such an over the top fashion, you can tell he’s just having a blast hamming it up completely as the villain of the film. He’s so great in it, you can’t help but love him. Madonna is also quite good as Breathless, and she shares rather good chemistry with Beatty’s Tracy, and you can tell he’s having a hard time pushing off her advances, because he really loves his girl Tess. The cast is just so well rounded, with excellent performances from everyone involved. It definitely seems like they had a great time working with Beatty, and they really enjoyed bringing these characters to life on screen.

The thing that really sets the film apart from so many is the look of the film.  Beatty’s film is made up of matte painting backgrounds, many, many sets, and using a color palette of only seven colors, trying to fully emulate the feel of the original comic book panels. It’s a truly breathtaking looking film, and it really does look just like those old comic strips, giving it a very nostalgic, pulp comic feel. Thankfully, Disney’s blu-ray of the film really retains that feel, and brings it to life like never before. This is a movie that truly benefits from the high definition treatment. The colors fully pop, bringing them fully to life in a way that hasn’t been emulated since the original theatrical screenings of the film. The look and feel of the city is almost brand new, and a huge step up from the old DVD version of the film. It’s incredibly impressive seeing this twenty two year old film looking this good now. Disney has really made this film look nothing short of excellent, and for that alone, it should be added to your collection.

Disney’s release also boasts a rather excellent 5.1 DTS HD track, and the movie has never sounded this good. Every bullet shot, every broken window, every line of dialogue is more crisp and clear than ever before. It’s really going to give those surround sound systems a nice workout. It’s great to see the film be given such great treatment, considering it seems to be one of Disney’s more forgotten titles. The only downside to this release, in all honesty, is a lack of special features. This is a movie that seems like it would be ripe for a feature looking back at the making of the film with the cast and crew, or some old TV specials, anything that might be somewhere hidden in the Disney vault. But even without the features, it doesn’t make this title any less worth owning. It’s great to have this film in such pristine condition now, and that alone makes it worth a purchase. Maybe in the future we’ll see another release with more features, but for now, this is a solid release.

‘Dick Tracy’ comes to life like never before on blu-ray. Featuring an incredibly beautiful blu-ray transfer, making the movie look better than ever before, and a great surround sound track as well. Beatty’s classic film plays better now more than ever, really capturing the essence of just why people love comic books. It’s movies like ‘Dick Tracy’ that really remind you just why we love movies. It’s a perfect pulp fiction adventure film, that plays very nicely in a double feature with Disney’s other 1990’s comic book film, ‘The Rocketeer’, that was released at this time last year, on blu-ray. It’s great to finally have this film on blu-ray, and it definitely deserves a place on your shelf.

Rating: B

Here’s a few  clips from the film, courtesy of Disney:

“Who Killed Lips?”

“The Kid Saves Tracy”

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