The Movie: 7.5/10
Before you judge me for not hating this movie, watch it. It’s not brilliant or life changing, always the goal for every movie I watch, but it’s entertaining and very enjoyable. Any story that highlights the rise, peak, and fall of anything kind of gets my juices flowing.
Wonderstone is a magician, illusionist who hit it big in the 80’s with a super flamboyant and glitzy act accompanied by his lifelong friend. They delivered over 5000 performances to a packed theater. People were entranced and entertained by the basic tricks, the glitter, the objectified assistant. The peak of their fame and indulgences is met with a change in the vibe of “magic”. A new wave of smarmy performers is bumping into the Wonderstone magic of days gone by.
Personal injury, pushing the limits of pain and suffering, all for shock and awes is the direction of Steve Gray. He mocks the glamour and pomp of the Vegas style magic shows. Popularity for Burt Wonderstone drops while the world watches Grey lay on hot coals, cut things out of his face, and hold his urine for an excruciating amount of time. Our hero needs to find a way to recapture his fame, fortune, the love the crowd, and his own love of magic.
It all sounds pretty basic and silly……and it is, but it’s really fun. I laughed a lot, even shed one tear at one point. There are obvious eye rollers here and there with the dialog and some of the things Grey does with his extreme performances. All that works fine when watching a story about Vegas magic shows. It’s camp and big and goofy at times, but it’s very satisfying.
The cast is, of course, fine and dandy. Everyone does their own thing, as expected. No one takes it too seriously but they don’t go so far over the goof level that it’s unappealing. The magic is fun and even in a movie with all the tricks hidden by camera goodness, my eyes opened wider a couple of times:)
An aging magician finding his affection for that feeling that anything in the universe is possible, it’s a nice story, well done, well worth watching. Get a few other flicks to go with it for a marathon of niceness.
- Steve Gray Uncut – Have you ever seen that awful Mindfreak show on TV. Well here is Jim Carey as the Brain Rapist hosting a 9 minute version of that show.
- Deleted Scene & Alternate Takes – Almost 30 minutes of deleted scenes here that actually caused my wife to nod off. They are more alternate take/improvisation that deleted scenes though.
- Making Movie Magic With David Copperfield – Professional 80’s Magician legend David Copperfield takes us on an eight minute journey behind the scenes. He also shows us his cameo in the movie.
- Gag Reel – fluffed lines and messed up tricks are the order of the day here.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I understand the cover, I just don’t really like it. I wouldn’t have this cover as a poster, but I would have some other images from the movie, lots of glitz to posterize. The menu is what it is, navigation with a still image of the cover art.
Audio & Video: 6/10
Burt Wonderstone’s transfer onto Blu-Ray is more Mind freak than David Copperfield as it does have it’s fair share of problems. From black crush to a few instances of banding and washed out flesh tones it’s not all it could be. Putting those issues aside though (I think they are not a fault of the Blu-Ray and a fault of the original negative) Burt Wonderstone does have some great detail and exceptional clarity. The 1080p AVC codec was used here but somehow I kept wanting more.
Audio is also sadly lackluster with a very front focused mix that rarely moves to the surround speakers. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 codec almost feels like it’s in 2.0 mode for most of the movie. The bright side is that the dialog here is crystal clear and you never miss a word which is great in a talk heavy comedy such as this. I only wish the surround field would have opened up especially during the final magic trick at the end of the film.
It’s a fun movie. I just don’t want to spend over 20 bucks on the Blu-ray. It’s a great way to rent away 2 hours of your life, extras and all.
Overall Score 7.5/10