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New Magic Reviews
New Magic Products
April 20th, 2014 2:39am
Review of Risk 4 by Rizki Nanda:
Four effects, 20 minutes and $30 bucks . . . is it gem or is it rubble?
Basically, you're getting four effects: a torn and restored card with an animated element to it; a magician in trouble prediction with a very visual change of the prediction; a "magically move a hot wheel with your mind" effect; and a two card transpo ending with signed card to wallet.
Those effects sound pretty good, right? Well . . . they're not all they're cracked up to be, unfortunately. Generally speaking, the card effects are very awkward and require too much unnatural handling of the cards to get to the needed position to pull off the effect. Let's look at each effect individually.
The effect is simple. You tear a card in half, and it visually "pulls itself back together." That moment does look pretty good. However, the handling to get there is very unnatural, awkward and not smooth. In the performance section of the DVD, the hidden gimmick was exposed on more than one occasion. The effect is simply over-handled. Such a simple effect (two halves merging together) should be as simple looking as "tear the pieces in half then watch them restore." Instead we're taking on a journey of over elaborate folding and creasing and card turnings and way too much handling. Nothing about it looks natural or smooth.
The only thing that I liked was the method for making the two pieces animate. You'll actually see that in the performance. It looks pretty good. The problem is that at the very moment that the animation is finished, you have to over handle everything again to show that the card has been restored. The moment of beauty created by the animation is gone.
This one has relatively simply handling, and it uses a cleverly gimmicked card (that's super easy to make) that does most of the work for you. Essentially, you write a prediction of a chosen card on the back of another card that was previously folded into quarters. So you're writing it in one corner of the card. Your prediction is wrong. But just a wave of the hand and the prediction (very visually) changes to the correct prediction. Then you unfold the card to reveal that it's a duplicate of the card they selected. The method is simple and very doable. But there are some issues.
First, parts of the handling of the gimmick are a bit unnatural, but it's not so horrible that I can't live with it. The biggest problem is once the effect is over, the spectators will (rightfully so) want to look at the card that you wrote the prediction on. Too much happened with that card, and it turned into their selection. Of course they'll want to see it. They can't.
That said, however, the concept that makes this work is pretty clever. I think I could see myself using this on just a plain note card rather than a playing card. I think doing so would leave less attention on the prediction paper. But I'm not sure.
Ok . . . this one . . . really . . . I can't believe this was on the DVD. The effect is that you move a toy car with your mind. First, watch the trailer. It's obvious that his timing was off when he went to make the car move. That's because you don't have control over the car even though they claim that you do on the DVD. Further, the method requires that you use one of those cars where you pull it back to wind up the wheels. When you do that in performance, I think it becomes very clear that what makes it move is the fact that it's a pull back car with the wheels wound up.
The method allows you to prevent the car from rolling immediately after pulling it back. However, the method causes the car to move on its own in a moment or two after you've pulled it back. Further, the car is mildly gimmicked, and you have to remove the gimmick before letting the spectator look at the car. Due to the nature of the gimmick, you cannot put it back on after you remove it; so no repeats. Finally, to prove my point that you don't have control over when the car is released, while watching the explanation of the effect, there's a clear moment where the car would not move and you can clearly see where they had to cut the video to get it to work.
This effect is not practical at all.
This transpo card to wallet effect uses the same gimmick from CIF, but in a different and much more clever way. It allows you to apparently vanish a playing card in a very clean looking manner. To me, this is the best use for this gimmick. The handling makes things less suspicious (but not entirely un-suspicious). During the performance, Takel (the performer) completely exposes (inadvertently) the method. So it was a bit obvious what was happening and how the card got into the wallet.
Ad Copy Integrity
The ad copy integrity is iffy. While the effects are described pretty accurately, what they don't say is how awkwardly things are handled to pull off the effects. The description for TK Car could easily lead one to believe that a regular toy car moves when it's just sitting there on the table. But the problem is that you have to set up the car by pulling it back right in front of the audience. You'll notice that this is conveniently left off the print copy and the video trailer. Further, upon watching the video trailer you'll notice several quick cuts. These cuts cleverly hide most of the awkward handling moments in the performances. Again . . . a bit misleading.
I will say that the videography, lighting and teaching were actually pretty solid. It was done with a voice over guy talking while Takel was walking through the handling. Multiple camera angles were used, and everything was well produced. So if you decide that you still want to learn the effects, you'll not be disappointed with the teaching and you'll easily be able to learn the effects with the instructions given on the DVD.
For $30 bucks, first I would expect more than 4 effects, especially effects that use such awkward handling and methods. I do feel that there were a couple of decent ideas . . . well . . . one really: the gimmick used in CIF and Transvo. This gimmick has some potential, but for all that you're getting . . . or rather, not getting, I'm having a hard time justifying you spending your hard earned cash on this one, folks.
2 Stars with a Stone Status of grubble (a whole lotta rubble with a small hint of an incline of something pointing to the maybe possibility of a possible idea that might be a gem with a really, really, really little 'g').