Disney Review: Dick Tracy and Heavyweights

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on December 15, 2012 at 4:01 am with 3 Comments

Two New Blu-Ray Releases came out from Disney this week, and both are movies I absolutely loved as a kid. But do they still hold up today?

Dick Tracy came out not too long after Tim Burton’s moody Batman. While Burton went the dark and serious route for his comic book adaptation, Warren Beatty went the complete opposite, and played it up for a bit of laughs. But that’s not to say he was mocking the original source material…he treated it with loving respect.

Dick Tracy is about the famous copper with his wristwatch communicator and yellow jacket out on the prowl for Big Boy Caprice…who is, coincidentally, out to get Tracy. He’s joined by his sweetheart, a foster kid, and a lounge singer who may be more than she lets on.

I remember seeing the film, multiple times, as a kid, and enjoying the heck out of it. Quite frankly, after watching it again on Blu-Ray, I still did. It’s by no means a perfect film…it’s uneven in some places, and some performances fall a bit flat, but overall, it’s very enjoyable. The bad guys are just over the top enough to not be caricatures (minus their looks, of course), and the performances are pretty solid.

The picture looks stunning on the Blu-Ray transfer, too. The yellow especially pops out (as it should!), but really, the entire transfer looks excellent.

My only gripe (and it’s a big one) is the extreme lack of special features. There is quite literally nothing else on the disc but the film itself. To me, this is a massive shame, given how much Beatty spoke of loving the source material and his deep passion for the project. I would have loved some behind the scenes features here, even if they were retrospective and had interviews with the folks involved today. I personally feel that this film stands the test of time, much like Disney’s other classic, The Rocketeer. Alas, maybe they are saving for a massive Dick Tracy pack sometime in the future.

Seriously, how can you hate Heavyweights? It’s impossible!

Marking the feature film writing and producing debut of current Hollywood powerhouse Judd Apatow, Heavyweights is the story of a group of kids who are sent to a ‘fat camp’ with the promise of quick weight loss and good times. Unfortunately, the camp is run by a psychopathic ex-fitness instructor. Hilarity ensues.

If you haven’t seen this film before, do yourself a favor, and give it a go. Sure, it was made in the mid-90s, and its age shows, but this is a classic comedy for kids.

The transfer to Blu-Ray is somewhat underwhelming. Given the relatively young age of this film, I expected it to be a little higher quality, but alas, the colors are a bit pale and the video isn’t nearly as sharp as I thought it would be. It doesn’t damper your viewing experience, but it’s noticeable.

Unlike Dick Tracy, this film delivers on the extras. This is no doubt due to Apatow’s involvement. One of the most enjoyable I found was the commentary track from Apatow, director Steven Brill, and actors Allen Covert, Aaron Schwartz, Shaun Weiss, and Tom Hodges. It’s pretty refreshing to hear them all chat candidly about the film, how it was made, and its cult status. But by far the best one was the hour and a half “deleted scenes” segment. Yes, you read that correctly…the deleted scenes run almost as long as the film. It’s pretty incredible, and most of them are pretty funny!

There is also a “making of” featurette that is from 1995, but gives a nice glimpse of the filmmaking of its time, a “Where Are They Now?” which looks at the cast today, and a whole other slew of other features. Who knew that Disney would give Heavyweights so much love? With almost 4 hours of extras, it’s definitely worth the price.

Did you buy either of these films on Blu-Ray? What did you think of them?


By Jeff Heimbuch

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at www.communicoreweekly.com Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at www.itskindofacutestory.com

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Comments for Disney Review: Dick Tracy and Heavyweights are now closed.

  1. I’ve seen Dick Tracey many times. It was an ambitious film with a strong sense of style. The musical numbers were fun but the acting was lackluster for a comic book movie. It’s sertainly a film worth having in your collection.

    As for Heavyweights, I’ve never even heard about it before today.

  2. Interesting to see how Disney modified the cover art to highlight Ben Stiller. When this film was originally released he was not on any posters or box art.

  3. Dick Tracy is a comic strip adaptation, the fact that the villians are caricatures is a necessity due to the fact that a strip, unlike a comic book, does not have space to develop characters especially in the day when Dick Tracy was a popular strip.

    The stand out thing about the film was the colouring, it deliberately uses only primary colours (except for flesh tones of course) which was a move to make it look for comic stip like and make it stand out against other films of the day. There are no brand names used in the film at all, watch for things like the restaurant scene where the sauce bottle simply says “Sauce” or the drinks say “Soda”.

    The acting is exactly what I would expect of a film that is paying tribute to the comic strip rather than the previous Dick Tracy films and serials. Madonna performs some of her best songs ever (in my opinion, I’m Breathless is my favourite Madonna album hands down) and her acting is even acceptable given the style of the film. My favourite villain is Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles, the first couple of times I saw this film I didn’t even realise it was him. Character design is perfect completely immersing the viewer in the world of Dick Tracy. The story is simple but you wouldn’t want anything else from a film of this type, I don’t want to watch this film and see a Skyfall type of film.

    The lack of any bonus material is upsetting, there were some excellent documentaries made about the film at the time and Warren Beatty promoted the movie well, making some rare appearances on TV. Disney also ran a new Roger Rabbit short with this film “Roller Coast Rabbit” which even features on some of the Dick Tracy posters and vice versa so there is no excuse for the lack of material. It is a relief that the transfer makes the colours pop as this was a very important part of the film.

    Despite the lack of bonus material I will still purchase this disc, the film stands up on its own and doesn’t really need the support of extra material, it would have been a nice touch though…