Dick Tracy (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 12-27-2012, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Touchstone - 1990
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Crime/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Madonna, Glenne Headly, Charlie Korsmo, Paul Sorvino, Mandy Patinkin, Williams Forsythe
Directed by: Warren Beatty
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 11, 2012

"I’m on my way "

Film Synopsis:

The comic strip detective (Beatty) finds his life vastly complicated when Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) makes advances towards him while he is trying to battle Big Boy Caprice's (Pacino) united mob..

My Take:

Legendary police detective Dick Tracy is the only man tough enough to take on gangster boss Big Boy Caprice and his band of menacing mobsters. Dedicated to his work but also devoted to his loyal girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, Tracy find himself torn between love and duty. His relentless crusade against crime becomes even more difficult when he gets saddled with an engaging orphan and meets seductive and sultry Breathless Mahoney, a torch singer determined to get the best of Tracy. A faceless character, the Blank, threatens both Tracy and Big Boy, and it takes all of Tracy's skills to save the city.

Dick Tracy was a big deal when it was released in theaters back in 1990. Lots of big names in the cast, Madonna was featured both in the film and soundtrack and the large scale production that brought the comic’s characters and essence to life on the big screen was top notch. These were the positives and in most respects they paid off in terms of entertainment value. Its only shortcoming is attributable to the script which kind of doesn’t keep up with the film’s other elements. The period based narrative eschews deeper story development in favor of fervent pacing and seemingly disconnected subplots that water down the focus. Be that as it may there is certainly enough substance to keep attention on point and the performances by the ensemble cast make it even more fun especially if you like the comic. Dick Tracy isn’t classic cinema but it’s a memorable film that capably lifts it’s subject matter from the pages of the newspaper and brings it to life on the big screen. I haven’t seen it in years but thoroughly enjoyed this revisit on Blu-ray.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and thematic material.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 84

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 84

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Dick Tracy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3.2 Mbps.

This 1.85:1 framed high definition presentation looks solid on Blu-ray. Blacks are punchy with appreciable dynamic range that makes them pop while onscreen with both light and dark elements. Skin tones have good tonal depth, delineated highlights and lifelike texture. Color balance is good as both primary and secondary hues appear vivid with clean rendering and pleasing levels of saturation. Resolution and overall clarity is quite good although sharpness can be minimally inconsistent. This appears innate and generally affects sequences which include special effects shots. Shadow detail isn’t definitive but depth of field during low level segments is satisfactory. I didn’t see any signs of the application of unwanted noise reduction or excessive manipulation. Images are well resolved with discernible definition and fair rendering of fine detail during close ups and mid-level camera pans. Grain is rendered in fine even layers that can become more noticeable against dark backgrounds. I never found it to be objectionable. The print is in excellent shape and shows no signs of deleterious wear. I thought this was a solid encoding that appeared to faithfully represent the film.

The lossless soundtrack is presented in a front oriented mix that is highlighted by Danny Elfman’s wonderfully engaging music score. The orchestrated elements are spread across the front of the room with subtle articulation that blends perfectly with the rest of the soundtrack to create an evenly balanced, multi-dimensional presentation where the music helps drive the story. Excellent directional spacing and imaging across the main three channels enables smaller background sounds within the mix to be detectable. Dialogue is definitively authoritative with excellent clarity and room penetration through the center channel. The soundstage opens up during a handful of sequences and extends the dynamic range nicely. Low frequency detail has good tactility during these segments, but isn’t frequently used over the course of the film. I thought this was a satisfying and appropriate surround mix that hit the high points quite well.

Bonus Features:

  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Dick Tracy doesn't come up during discussions of classic American films however it’s an entertaining and memorable bit of escapism that has finally made its way onto Blu-ray from Disney. It features satisfying high definition audio/video that easily bests any previous home video version. Like its 2003 DVD release there are no bonus supplements included. Regardless this Blu-ray offering is worth picking up for fans of the film. If you have never seen it drop it in your rental queue and give it a spin.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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