(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Dick Tracy)
Doug (vo): I have never seen a film that looks like Dick Tracy. And I know a lot of people say that, "Oh, this imagery isn't like anything you've ever seen! Blah-blah-blah!" But it's really true. I can't think of any other movie that looks like this. This might be the most ambitiously visual spectacle I've seen in years. It's crazy. The colors, the designs, the costumes, the makeup, it's totally insane! Which is why it really sucks that I can't remember a single friggin' thing about it. Is it that the visuals were so good, it distracted from the rest of the story, or is it that the story wasn't really that hot to begin with?
Doug (vo): Dick Tracy, based on the famous newspaper comic strip, is the yellow trench coat-wearing cop, played by Warren Beatty, who's trying to take down the massive crime in his fair city. His arch-nemesis Big Boy, played by Al Pacino, is the yelling and screaming mob gangster who constantly wants to put him out of his way. He comes across a kid simply named...Kid, a singer named Breathless Mahoney, played by Madonna, and all sorts of weird and literally colorful characters that constantly wanna kill him. There's Flat Top, *Baby Face, The Blank, they only get crazier and crazier.
*Note: That hideous creation with the small face is actually named Little Face, not Baby Face
Doug (vo): Okay, so the basic story is good guy vs. bad guy, has cute kid sidekick, has a femme fatale, all the classic stuff you usually see in a lot of film noirs and so on. That part is easy to follow. What's not easy to follow is the steps they're taking to create this formula. There's a lot of talk of business, a lot of talk of fraud, a lot of talk of strategy, a lot of talk of planning, a lot of talk of breaking in, busting a person and, yeah, we see it happen but...what do we really know about these people?
(Clips showing off the film's characters are shown)
Doug (vo): Aside from Al Pacino, who's really yukking it up as the bad guy, there's nothing memorable about these characters. Warren Beatty is a tough cop and...that's about it. Madonna is the hot singer and...that's about it. The wise-cracking kid's a wise-cracking kid and...that's about it. You get where I'm going with this? Hearing them talk is not very riveting, and it's constantly being distracted by how incredible the backgrounds are. When the action finally does start, it looks pretty cool, but what do I care if any of these people get axed off? A part of me kind of respects that they're trying to take such a cartoonily silly-looking film so seriously, but on the other hand, I just wish it could've been more interesting. I remember in the credits, it said that Dick Van Dyke was in this movie. Dick Van Dyke, where the hell was he?!
(We see a brief clip of Dick Van Dyke's character, District Attorney John Fletcher)
Doug (vo): Oh, there he is. God, I didn't even notice him! He's in and out of the film so fast that he's barely even worth the credit. If Dick Van Dyke, Dick Van freakin' Dyke, can't leave an impact on you in a movie, you know there's gotta be something wrong with it. On top of that, there's a lot of scenes in the movie that are just downright...gruesome, especially for a Disney film.
(We see a part of the movie showing Flat Top and some other gangsters violently gunning down some people playing a card game, along with Big Boy offing someone)
Doug (vo): Early on, they take this one gangster down by tying him up, putting him in a box, covering him in wet cement, and then throwing him in the river, all while he's crying and sobbing the whole time. That's pretty fucking intense! Don't get me wrong, I like a little dark and gritty in Disney films, but that's like something right out of a nightmare! I guess to the film's credit, it's not that it's really bad or annoying, it's just kind of dull. Like I said, I can barely remember what actually happened in this movie, I just remember it looked beautiful while it was happening.
(Several scenes showing off the film's unique visual style are shown)
Doug (vo): With that said, yeah, it is friggin' unbelievable to look at. I mean, who would dress this way? Who would design their buildings this way? Who would choose these colors? Who would have faces this bizarrely weird? Nobody would! It's obviously taking the idea of adapting the comic strip which was very bright, colorful and over-the-top to a whole new level. It's definitely in its own unique world, one where the backgrounds don't even have to look that convincing. I mean, look at this, this is so obviously a matte painting, they're not even trying to hide the brush strokes. But that's just part of the style. It all looks phony, but in the same way that a puppeteer holding a puppet you know is phony, but you don't care. It's just so well done that you enjoy every second of it.
Doug (vo): So I'm kind of torn on the movie. On the one hand, I'm glad I saw it if for any other reason, just to see it. But on the other hand, yeah, why couldn't they make the story more interesting? Why couldn't they flesh out the characters more? Why couldn't they be a lot more fun? Like I said, Pacino's great, but everyone else is just so phoned-in and standard. Just because they look distinct doesn't mean they act distinct. I remember the makeup and the layout much more than I remember anything else in this film. And that's really a shame. If this did have a memorable story and characters, maybe it could be like one of the great film noirs, a film that plays to incredibly heavy shadows but also somehow incredibly heavy colors. It could've been sort of this one of a kind masterpiece. But as is, it's really just a style over substance movie. If you want to see the style and you just enjoy watching people in trench coats and fedora hats punch each other and shoot, then you'll at least be glad that you saw it. But if none of that does it for you, then I'm sad to say this is a very unfortunate skip.
(A scene showing Dick Tracy walking towards the camera armed with a Tommy Gun is shown)