The character designs
are simply phenomenal, with many recognizable faces (and great gangster
names) from the comics being brought to three dimensional life including
Lips Manlis, Little Face, The Brow, Mumbles, Pruneface, Flattop,
Influence and more, all gloriously done up in brightly colored suits
and Academy Award winning makeup. Beneath the disguises are instantly
recognizable actors including Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Sorvino
and William Forsythe. To go with these colorful characters is art
direction and set designs that are more vivid and surreal than those
seen in Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City. It’s a color scheme
that boasts originality and an amazingly unique composition. Faraway
aerial shots feast on luscious silhouetted buildings and streets,
illuminated with eerie glows and graphic novel outlines. The look
of the film is what many would consider to be “Tim Burtonesque.”
Dick Tracy is Warren Beatty’s Batman, complete with montages
of action and newspaper headlines overlayed with Steven Sondheim’s
Oscar-winning songs and Danny Elfman’s catchy theme music.
At one point Tracy even crashes through a glass sky roof almost
identical to a stunt performed by Batman a year earlier. And Al
Pacino’s role as Big Boy Caprice can easily be compared
to Jack Nicholson’s outlandish performance as The Joker,
both playing idiosyncratic psychos seeking citywide domination.
Prince’s lingering soundtrack from Batman is replaced by
Madonna’s seductive voice as she continually sings tunes
either onstage at the nightclub or in an omniscient background
as scenes overlap.
Produced and directed by Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy is a nostalgic
and unforgettable detective murder mystery tale woven together
with action, comedy and hilariously disfigured gangsters galore.
With Tommy gun mayhem, a New Year’s Eve showdown, comically
faithful names and makeup, catchy music and delightful acting,
Dick Tracy is not only one of the best comic book adaptations
for the big screen, it’s also thrilling, non-stop fun.
- Mike Massie