Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dick Tracy (1990) Review:

Just like The Phantom (1996), The Shadow (1994) and The Rocketeer (1991), the 1990's was the decade Hollywood thought it would be a great idea to revive older comic book/strip characters from the 1930's due to the strong reception from Richard Donner's Superman (1978) and Tim Burton's Batman (1989). Unfortunately, none of these films did fantastic at the box office because of the lack of support. But that doesn't mean what was produced, was poor material. This film is probably the one that lit the fuse to construct the other three later to come.

Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy
There is a subtle difference between this particular film and the other three - the sense of realism. The setting is the same, which takes place in the 1930's but the world that detective Dick Tracy lives in, is a little bit unrealistic. But this is what makes it so avant-garde. For example, Each characters name depicts what they are like. If a mob member’s name is called "Flattop", they will literally have a flat top. Or another named "Little Face", truly has a small face. Each character is a characacher of their own name. This is actually rather clever and funny at the same time. I liked that a lot, even if no person would ever have such a misshapen body structure.

Starring is Warren Beatty, an acclaimed actor, best known for his role in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), directs his third film with this comic strip icon - Detective Dick Tracy. Along with him, co-stars Al Pacino, a very young Madonna, Paul Sorvino, Glenne Headly even Dick Van Dyke and several others. And even with a big cast, sometimes films don't do well, but here, it works out well because of how likable these characters are. Beatty plays Tracy like it's been his job for more than his acting career. Madonna is attractive and highly seductive like she was supposed to be, so that works. Even Al Pacino as the villain gives some comedic relief. It's funny because how his make-up was applied makes him look like a Muppet.

Al Pacino as Big Boy ....see how they all wear solid colors?
What also stood out was just how colorful the entire film was, in its most basic form that is. Movies now a days and even back then contained a multiple array of colors but in Beatty's film, it sticks to your regular Kindergarten colors - green, yellow, red, blue, black, orange... and so on. There are no shades to these primary and secondary colors. They are just your basic crayons and it really stands out. Dick Tracy wouldn't be as memorable to me if he didn't wear his banana colored fedora and trench coat. It just wouldn't be the same and it's because of these colors that help accentuate the exaggerations of the characters.

Lastly, comes the music score provided by none other than Danny Elfman. What's great about Elfman's score in this particular work is that he gives the comic strip hero and his love interest each their own memorable theme. Along with that are Elfman's other tracks that contain a lot of jazzy tunes consisting of trumpets and other instruments from that specific time. I did find it cliche though to how the famous detective gets himself into trouble for a lot of silly things because he's either not paying attention or because he lets his selfishness get to him. But that's about it.

The movie adaptation of the 1930's comic strip detective is colorful, clever, has great performances and memorable music. It's writing is shaky in some places but it still holds up to a very entertaining movie.

Points Earned --> 9:10

No comments:

Post a Comment