Alasdair Stuart writes for Bleeding Cool
I love stage magic. In fact, I was a stage magician for several years, working as part of a group on the Isle of Man, and I learnt everything from setting the stage up to writing links for shows, to exactly how much it hurts when a kid you pull up from the audience yanks on the glass you're showing him so hard that the section of your hand holding it in place folds the wrong way.
The answer is a lot by the way.
Anyway, I love magic to tiny pieces and so Now You See Me looks tons of fun to me. Here are ten things about its trailer… all of which, you'll notice, were in a sealed envelope I gave to you earlier in the week, before I watched the trailer.
1. Morgan Freeman is! Michael Caine in! Now You See Me
In this trailer, Freeman is seconds away from giving Cutter's closing speech from The Prestige. Which is no bad thing as it's a damn good speech and Freeman is one of the only other actors on the planet who could nail that 'aged assistant genius' role like Caine… or, in fact, Liam Neeson in The Next Three Days. Now a team up of those three? That I could get behind.
2. Magician as Rock Star
The fact that there are four magicians and that they're playing such big stages puts the main characters of Now You See Me in the Criss Angel/David Copperfield strata and that may have an interesting effect on the plot. Namely, they're too famous to have pulled the robbery, and even if they're not, they have thousands of witnesses to provide an alibi.
3. Magician as Robin Hood
This is where it gets really interesting. The fact that the entire audience are victims of hard times could simply mean the economic crunch but it could also mean that this is a specially chosen audience, all of whom may have been screwed over by the evil bank of Pennyworth, Cutter & Croker. More on them in a moment…
4. Michael Caine has crossed the street
Quietly, Michael Caine has lately carved a niche for himself as adorable moral compass and counter-culture grandfather. From Children of Men to the Nolan Batman movies, The Prestige and Inception, Caine has become a symbol of stolid, old fashioned decency. So hearing him snarl about destroying the leads in this is a real shock. Welcome back to the dark side, sir.
5. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
The book Woody Harrelson is reading when they're arrested is The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. It's a three-part novel, with over forty narrators that culminates with the main character hiding out in the Mexican desert, where the 'Savage Detectives', the people he's enraged across years of travel, are closing in. It'll be interesting see if this is reflected in the movie being a 'one last job' kind of affair.
6. Surprising a Magician
The arrest sequence is an interesting one because from what we see, Eisenberg and Harrelson aren't the least bit surprised, whilst Fisher has a coat half on (or off) and gloves on. I suspect they were expecting the arrest but why is she surprised? What does she know? Or not know? That's the problem with misdirection – it's difficult to know when it stops. Or if it ever started…
7. Zuckerberg vs Banner
Some kind of nerd singularity is surely reached by the site of Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo getting in each other's faces. What do you think the next stage is? Ruffalo threatens to hulk out and Eisenberg changes his privacy settings? Again?
8. All Done With Mirrors. And Hammers
The thing no one really likes to tell you about magic is that it's almost always in the last place you look. The normal looking table, the chair brought up from the audience, that sealed envelope: all of those objects and all oftheir trajectories throughout the trick are preordained by a good magician and changed completely by a truly great one. It's why the man who taught me hated card tricks – there are 51 ways for them to go wrong and only 1 way of it going right. Mirror tricks are the same; get too close, you see it, get the angles wrong, you see it, get the angles too right, you see it. It's 'hiding in plain sight' with all the white-knuckled terror that implies and I can't wait to see what it is they're using the mirror wall for here.
9. Franco vs Hulk
Dave Franco was huge fun in 21 Jump Street and I'm delighted to see him here. However, punching Hulk cop very hard in the face really doesn't strike me as a good career move. How bad of a career move will it be? Well, let's see…
10. How Many People Are Jumping Again?
I'm seeing Fisher, Eisenberg and what looks a lot like Harrelson's character's hat in that trio jumping off the building. No Franco. Or, maybe it's a swerve and Harrelson's character is killed, passing his hat onto his protege? Or maybe Dave's just in the car… but only three of them jumping is odd.
Now You See Me is scheduled for release on June 7 2013. Which is so far away I may even have learned a card trick that works by then.