Magic. Now thereâ€™s a subject that, over the years, hasnâ€™t gotten a great deal of cinematic attention. Reason being, one surmises, that magic acts need the immediacy of live (or at least taped live) performance to preserve their thrill… and if weâ€™re being honest here, most of them donâ€™t have that much thrill to preserve in the first place. So wouldnâ€™t you know it, after humming along for so many years all but magic-free, in 2006, Hollywood not only coughs up two magic-themed movies within weeks of each other but two turn-of-the-century Europe magic-themed movies. (Now thatâ€™s a Smackdown!) […]
Over the hundred-plus years of cinematic history, there has been enough movie magic to create a worldwide love affair with film. Surprisingly, however, since the laterna magica first began projecting moving images, there have been remarkably few movies about magic.
The year 2006 was an exception, with the near-simultaneous release of two excellent films about 19th century professional prestidigitators â€” The Illusionist and The Prestige. For someone who loves magic and sleight of hand, this was a banner year worth sharing. While The Prestige made more money at the domestic box-office, approximately $53 million vs. $40 million, The Illusionist cost considerably less to make â€” $16.5 million vs. $39 million. Based on their return on investment, and the fact that The Illusionist was also the first to appear on the nationâ€™s screens in 2006, weâ€™ll give The Illusionist the designation of â€œDefending Champion,â€ and The Prestige our â€œChallengerâ€ position. Now that our rivals are in their respective corners, letâ€™s get out the wands and let the magic begin. […]