A&E // 2010 // 264 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 22nd, 2011
Is his number up?
As I was watching the sixth iteration of Criss Angel's magic-infused love letter to himself, I was doing my own bit of conjuring, specifically, summoning up colorful ways to say that "This guy really comes off as a self-absorbed douche." But now having finished with the set, I'm going to step back from the rhetorical flogging. My point of view has softened.
The bonus features.
The extras contain a series of tricks that Angel performs then immediately shows you, the viewing audience, how to pull off. He's flanked by a pair of his magic consultants and together they break down the trick step by step. And truthfully, the Criss Angel shown in these brief snippets is wildly different from the persona he exhibits on the show. In these segments, he's relaxed, engaged, and seems genuinely excited about talking about the stuff he does and showing up-and-comers how he pulls it off. There's no talk of "creating miracles" or "impossible situations;" it's just a regular guy riffing about magic. In short, he's likeable.
The Criss Angel that we're all used to from Mindfreak, however, has officially crossed over into parody. These are how the shows roll out: Angel introduces his big illusion (six of them here, one per episode), then he and his family members and his staff talk about it ad nauseum, then they talk about how awesome Criss is ad nauseum, then Criss hangs out with some C-listers and they talk about awesome Criss is (ad nauseum) and then it's time to do the finale. Scattered among these segments are genuinely entertaining magic bits, but these blips of coolness just can't shoulder the burden of ego that exists in such an inflated state. Really, Criss, why do we want to see you hit a punching bag harder than a professional fighter? Or a tour of your huge new mansion that refreshes your spirit or something? Or fawning close-ups of your cars and that new motorcycle that costs more than the annual salary of a hedge fund manager? Or that same shot of you standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking out nobly and with important purpose? Yes, you live a great life and bang Playboy models and are constantly flanked by people who lob giant accolade balloons your way when on camera.
It's a bit douchey, sir.
So, who is it? Who's the real Criss Angel? The wealthy 43-year-old dressed up as a bad boy who comes across as self-deprecating as Emperor Palpatine? Or the low-key, down-to-earth magician? I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and, optimist that I am, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say the needle swings more to the latter.
Because, really, he can do some cool stuff.
Two discs, six episodes, presented in full frame (get with the program, A&E) and 2.0 stereo with the learn-your-own-magic bits for the extras.
I'll let you off the hook, Criss, but it's those extras that saved you.
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 264 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Trick Secrets
* Criss on Twitter