Last night, Ash and I sat down to watch The Illusionist. For a long time now, people have been telling me that since I love The Prestige so much, that I will indeed love The Illusionist. I will admit, I went into the viewing in a somewhat biased manner. I thought, “How can Ed Norton (not one of my more favored actors) compare to the wondrous talent of Bale and Jackman that came out of their movie? But honestly, I also went into it thinking it would be comparable, if not a better film entirely.
Well, I was wrong. In fact, I am amazed I was able to stay awake. I typically do fall asleep watching movies. For starters, the writers totally banked on the creation of a childhood romance being the glue of the plot. Well, it was like trying to cement bricks with mashed potatoes. A.) The love story fell flat B.) Ed Norton in no way convinced me that he was in love with Sophie and C.) the entire movie was based on it and well, since I didn’t buy it, I was disappointed. And also, the “big twist” that should have shocked and amazed people failed to do so since the title “the ILLUIONist” basically made you realize that of course, she wasn’t dead, it was all a big ploy. But it didn’t make me feel the tension, the romance, the ups and downs of a suspenseful story.
Another gripe I had was the lack of music. Usually, we forget that there’s even music playing in the background of scenes but if we slow down a bit, we can hear it, there, making us feel a certain way. This movie had so much silence that I stopped caring about any sort of emotional contact with the characters. I will give you that Rufus Sewell and Paul Giamatti performed their characters well. They were… believable. But Ed Norton should stick to… something else. This was not his best role.
Furthermore, this movie asks you to suspend your disbelief during the entire (seemingly short) duration. I can do this fairly well. In fact, for The Prestige, they pulled off something impossible (human cloning basically) SO WELL, that even at the end of the movie, I felt like it could have been true. In The Illusionist, they didn’t address hardly any of his magic secrets and some of the stunts were so far-fetched that I felt like the writers just copped out because there was no explanation. I can’t buy a movie that doesn’t try to sell me, even if it is magic beans. I’ll buy them if you can convince me. I mean, hell, The Prestige sold me on Bowie as Tesla – what a feat!
So, all in all, those of you who liked the Illusionist, I am happy for you. But I was thoroughly disappointed in the end and come February 20th, I will purchase the Prestige dvd and watch with glee as a real movie about magic unfolds on my television screen.