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Laramie Movie Scope:
Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy's for real

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 18, 1990 -- ``Dick Tracy'' isn't just another comic strip character brought to the screen like ``Superman'' or ``Batman,'' it is the creation of a whole new movie world.

Not since ``Who Framed Roger Rabbit'' has there been such a unique movie creation of a cartoon world on the screen. Speaking of Roger, he stars in a very good cartoon feature which runs with the film.

Warren Beatty, the producer and director and star of the film deserves much of the credit for the look of the film. It was decided to use all primary colors in the movie. Vivid colors plus the extraordinary makeup effects on the movie villains, gives the movie an otherworldly look.

Many of the sets use extensive matte paintings done by Disney Studios instead of real city backdrops. This also helps the comic-book look.

Unlike Batman, however, the looks of the movie aren't the whole package. This film has an all-star cast, smart dialogue and a solid plot.

In addition to the headliners Beatty and Madonna, there is Al Pacino Dick Van Dyke and Dustin Hoffman. Pacino gives an over-the-top performance as Big Boy, the town's chief bad boy, and Hoffman plays Mumbles.

The fine musical score is written by Stephen Sondheim and Madonna does a fine job singing in a style light years different that the pop music she is known for.

This is a very flashy movie, but style does not dominate substance. The main story is the triangle romance between Madonna, Beatty and Tess Trueheart, played by Glenne Headly. It is nicely done, however, it is simply not as compelling as some of the better films of recent years, such as, ``Lethal Weapon,'' ``Back to the Future'' and ``Driving Miss Daisy.'' The other aspects of the film, however, are all first rate. Set design, makeup and cinematography should win Academy Awards. The songs are good enough for an Oscar, or a Broadway musical for that matter.

This is a unique movie experience, well conceived and executed. More creative and original than the blockbuster film Batman. While Batman was dark and brooding and dominated by evil characters, Dick Tracy is bright and electric, with surprising complexities and plot twists. Unlike the Joker, even the bad guys in this film aren't all bad.

On a scale of one to 10 this film rates an eight.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)