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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Reviews/Comparisons of The Prestige/Illusionist (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Big Daddy Cool
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I haven't really seen this anywhere yet, so forgive me if I am treading on covered ground. I just saw The Prestige Saturday, and I am curious as to what others thought about it. How did you like it compared to The Illusionist? Do they compare at all? I have my own thoughts and feelings, but I'm curious to know what you thought...
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Jonathan Townsend
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There is some about this on the "Prestige" threads.

I found them quite different fairy tales.

One asks if its okay to use magic to get the girl.

The other asks us to understand both the cost and the price of magic.

Obviously the Prestige is not a movie which can be appreciated by children as anything more than a "what's the secret" type thing.

There is however a precedent for the lesson offered. Look at Gaiman's "Books of Magic" for the lesson offered by the stage conjurer who could also do real magic. I'll leave off comment about how the story has a sort of modern parallel over an almost identical closeup magic effect.
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Skip Way
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I really enjoyed the cinemagraphic effects of both films. They were both very pleasant to watch from an artistic perspective. I saw The Prestige as a "Tell-Tale Heart" mystery with a focus on greed, arrogance and envy...not some mere sleight or illusion. The Illusionist was a haunting "Boy Gets Girl" fairy tale.

I personally don't care whether a magic effect was "revealed", created by CGI or outside the realm of reality. Magic was simply the vehicle for creating the exciting and mystic-tinged tales. In my opinion, anyone who wastes their time seeking historical inaccuracies or performance fallacies in either film has lost sight of the films' true charms.

I'm a fan of plot twists and turns common to Alfred Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan and Agatha Christie, so this aspect of both films appealed to me greatly. While I enjoyed the Illusionist, The Prestige created more of an actual journey. The clues throughout the latter film were constant and exciting. I especially enjoyed those moments towards the end when the final twists are revealed and you can hear several collective and audible gasps radiate through the audience. That first is a great moment. Like Agatha Christie's Mousetrap and Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, the fun is going back again and again to ferret out the clues and finnesses that eluded you on the earlier visits.

I applaud both films and will eagerly add them to my collection for the entertaining mysteries they are.

Skip Smile Smile
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Jeb Sherrill
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I concede that I was not a great fan of "The Illusionist", but I loved "The Prestige". Honestly, "The Illusionist" just didn't work well for me on both story and dialouge. Half way through I started noting how bad everyone's beards and mustaches looked. It's not the thing I should be noting and it meant that I wasn't involved enough in the story. I'm a big fan of Ed Norton, so I expected better.

On the other hand, "The Prestige" hit on so many things. It questioned what magic truly was, how much were we willing to pay for it, and just what the cost of magic really is. I did wish that the movied hadn't come down on one side over the other, and I noted many plot problems, but oddly the movie so good that even I didn't care.

"The Books of Magic" is an excellent example also of great storytelling. Kudos to anyone who's read the series.

For the record, I will probably buy both movies just to have them.

Jeb
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C Christian
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I love them both for the reasons stated above... As long as Magic movies stay in the main stream for a little while I am happy because it can only help me getting more bookings.
I am looking forward to a couple of other Magic themed movies coming out in the next couple of years. cheers chris
tommy
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I havn't seen them yet but I just watched the trailer of "The The Prestige" and I'm wondering what you think of the things they say about magic, such as, The Three Acts and a real magician tries to invent something new, something that magicians will scratch their heads over....and so on.

Looks cool to me but I love anything with Ricky Jay in it. Does he perform in it?

Tommy
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Jonathan Townsend
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The three act thing was an invention of the author, Christopher Priest.
Ricky Jay plays a role in the beginning of the movie.
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tommy
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Thanks Jon.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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karbonkid
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There is actually a really great write up in this month's MAGIC MAGAZINE hailing 'The Prestige' as the Citizen Kane of magic movies. It also goes on to name several more magic themed movies to come out, but, honestly, I couldn't agree more about this film if I tried. Has nice sections and interviews with Weber, Nolan, and Christian Bale.
Payne
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Loved The Illusionist and am anxiously awaiting it's release on DVD. Didn't like The Presitge at all. The plot and character motivations were too weak and there really wasn't a character you cared about so the ending was really flat. The whole movie went nowhere. A Batman vs. Wolverine movie would have been a lot better. The Illusionist for me really captured the time period whereas The Prestige was simply modern folk dressed up in period costumes.
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Jonathan Townsend
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I dissagree about the modernity of the characters. The modern mindset would be much more accepting of one thing that cost someone their life AND likely less impressed with other things which astounded at the time. I feel the characters were motivated by things of the time and acted in ways which were of the time.
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Big Daddy Cool
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On the characters in Prestige... I saw a lot of my friends in those characters. I'm wondering if any of them saw me...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
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Alex Linian
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I saw myself.

I loved both movies for different reasons as they were very different movies. The Illusionist showed how the performance of magic and the use of its techniques can affect an audience, on and off stage. The Prestige was about the lives behind the performance, and how the practice of, and obsession with magic and it's techniques can affect the ones practicing it.

In the end, I found the Prestige to be more disturbing to me... and to me that made it the (slightly) better movie. I did like the soundtrack for the Illusionist more.
tommy
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I did see some red curtains in the trailer.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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BarryFernelius
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I agree with Master Payne; The Illusionist was much more satisfying than The Prestige.

First, without giving too many plot spoilers, I deduced (as did Michael Caine's character) the secret about Christopher Nolan's character early in the movie. Occam's Razor made this the obvious answer. It took a painfully long time for the rest of the plot to play out.

Second, when the story took its left turn into science fiction, I kept thinking to myself that if I had an invention like the one created by Tesla, I would use it for lots of interesting things, but I certainly wouldn't use it for a magic trick. From that point on, the story made no sense whatsoever. In the context of what the story was about, Tesla's invention felt like a contrived story telling device, worse than the old Deus Ex Machina favored by the ancient playwrights.

By the end of The Prestige, I was so fed up with the main characters that I was glad to leave the theatre.
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Alexander Leidy
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In my mind, the two are totally separate styles of movie, and comparing them is kind of like comparing Psycho and Blazing Saddles and saying one is better than the other. It just does not work. In comparing the two movies to their respective genres, they're great, but they cannot really be compared to each other. Both movies were well acted, both had good scores and cinematography, and most importantly, they brought magicians to the public eye. I'm happy two movies of that caliber came out involving magicians; hopefully audiences that enjoyed a magician movie will remember those good feelings and get a real magician the next time they need entertainment.
Alex Linian
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I really wanna see the new Bond movie
Big Daddy Cool
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I really enjoyed both films for completely different reasons.

The Illusionist had a happy ending, it was the quintessential fairytale.

The Prestige had a deeper meaning for me. It really made me think. My wife hated it, but oddly enough it was the focus of our conversations for two solid days afterward. That's something to think about...

I haven't talked with my other friends, but I really related to Christian Bale's character - Bordon. In many ways... I may be that character.
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GWSchott
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I think the two films were about as similar as oranges and apples...they're both fruit, but that's about the extent of their commonality. Of the two I guess I liked the Prestige best, although I think the plot ran a little heavy at times.
Yours In Magic,
Gordon
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"The Illusionist" was the better of the two films, because it was the only one that had real magic in it. It happens in the scene near the end, where Giamati is at the train station for the last time. "The Illusionist" was well written, well produced, well performed, and all around perfect.


"The Prestige" was like "The Blair Witch Project". By the end of the movie, I just wanted the principles dead. It left me feeling like I needed a shower. It revealed the working of actual conjouring effects, just to do it. It broke my suspension of disbalief, when there was no need. It incorperated acvtual historical stories, repeatedly, just to hook the history buffs. The story lacked flow and feel. It wasn't a bad movie, but it was far from a great one. That being said, everyone must see it, because David Bowie's portrail of Nikoli Tesla is an absolute work of cinimatic art, nicely complimented by Andy Circus as his assistant.
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