Friday, July 16, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (210-212)!

.:210/365: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice:.

Originally a poem turned into a musical score turned into an animated short in 1940’s Fantasia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is now a film that stars Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel as the sorcerer Balthazar Blake and his apprentice, respectively.

As the magician for the promotions of the film, I actually felt obliged to catch the movie last Wednesday night, and it was definitely a good thing I did, as I met Sharon Yu for the first time in about a year or two since she was last on Campus 99.5. It was a fun movie, and since me and my colleague, Judd, went to catch the film after a battery of meetings for work, it was definitely a good thing that we found the time to see this film.

In terms of story, this was your standard kid’s fare, particularly with all the references to Merlin, and Morgana Le Faye. The revisions made in the story to fit in Balthazar Blake and give Dave Stutler the opportunity to become the Prime Merlinian, the man who will follow in Merlin’s lineage, has certainly been an interesting turn of events, and the way they pieced the story together of a young boy who discovers how he could be a sorcerer, only to be completely sidetracked by what was perceived to be a nervous breakdown, lent to a solid character with issues that could be overcome with the right amount of work.

Would this film fall under stage magic, per se? Well, to an extent, since one of the supporting cast played the role of a magician ala Criss Angel, it did remind me a lot of stage magic. The Magic: The Gathering posters were a nice touch, as well, as I was amused at the cameo of my favorite card game in the film, as well.

I don’t really want to spoil much in this storyline, but I really found this film to be a good one, not just because it pertained to magic, but it had a love story that had the right amount of maturity (And by maturity, I don’t mean sexual content, but a mature, sensible way of handling relationships.) that I rarely see in romantic angles for films. One of the scenes I liked the most was the line where the leading lady commented “Do you think one botched date would make me hate you forever?” Life isn’t always about never making mistakes or else. Sometimes, if you really believe in someone, a few honest slip-ups here and there are not the end of the world.

I also liked the homage to the old Fantasia short, though, when Dave decided to use his magic to aid him in cleaning his laboratory up. That was pretty fun to catch, and overall, this film was just such a fun romp from beginning to end.

Do catch it, if you like magic interspersed with some pseudo-science (As a bit of trivia, it’s actually a myth when they say humans only use 10% of their brain at any given time.), and witty comedy, plus a sensible love story, all against a nice, fantastical, geeky, nerdy background. I think it works out pretty well as a movie, and hey, the film did advance my stage magic career quite a bit, seeing as I have more shows to do this weekend for the film’s promotions.

.:211/365: Pulling A Rabbit From Out Of A Hat:.

I can’t think of a single routine that has not been associated with magic more than the act of a magician pulling a live rabbit from out of his hat.

Supposedly first performed by Louis Comte in 1814, this venerable illusion has got to be one of the most impressive magic routines children will ever see, but what makes this even better in my eyes is the sheer potential it possesses to actually do even more over time. Many hat routines performed at present never stop at the classic performance, and usually proceed to more mind-boggling effects such as producing an endless supply of stuff from the hat, or a comedic twist like the video you see above.

Classics are always classics for a reason, so don’t knock ‘em, guys. The rabbit from the hat is still a crowd pleaser, even in its pure, unadulterated form. I can assure you most of the people who say “pull a rabbit out of a hat” have never seen that particular bit of magic done in front of them their entire lives. :P

.:212/365: Lance Burton:.

Elegance without the demureness. Flair without the flamboyance. Lance Burton is, without a doubt, one of the most debonair magicians on earth, and one of the routines we often take for granted, dove productions, has been attributed to this man and his genius at coming up with routines that not only baffle the viewers, but are performed smoother than silk.

In my mind, I cannot think of a single magician who is more suave than Lance Burton in his prime. Not even David Copperfield came close.

Like most magicians who really made it big in the industry, Lance started young, at the age of five. His interest in magic began when he was a volunteer for Harry Collins, who performed the classic “Miser’s Dream” by pulling coins out from thin air and Lance’s ears. As he mastered magic at a pace faster than one would expect of someone his age, Collins himself took notice and took the young magician under his wing.

Over the years, Burton has earned many distinctions in magic, having been the youngest ever winner of FISM, as well as having cemented his name in the history of magic for two very amazing performances: dove productions, which led to him being featured in a movie just for the sake of performing the illusion, and the Roller Coaster escape I mentioned him doing in March. Throughout his time, this man has been a Las Vegas staple, and if you ever go to the United States this year, make sure to catch his last few shows in Monte Carlo, as his contract expires this September 4.

I cannot express enough my admiration for Burton’s style and finesse onstage. There’s something about his presence that just commands respect, and he exudes a mystique that nobody can quite duplicate. As he grew older, he learned to incorporate even more elements into his character, whether it be his amazing ability to ad lib in reaction to hecklers and other commenters during his shows, or his playful sense of humor that comes into play in some of his routines, such as the disappearing handkerchief.

Lance Burton is definitely one of the first few names that I would mention whenever anyone would ask me which stage magicians I admire the most.

1 comment:

Judd said...

You forgot to mention Karate Kid! Kicking your appetite!