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Done by Misdirection DVD Review

Official Review

April 2nd, 2005 12:46pm
Rating:
Reviewed by Gabe Fajuri
Having heard so much about the Flicking Fingers, but never actually having seen them in person, I was excited to peek at Manuel Muerte’s new DVD “Done by Misdirection.”

And while I was impressed on the whole by the DVD “ the content and production values are superior “ I still think there is room for some improvement.

This is not to say that the DVD is without merit. In fact, 21 very good tricks are taught in total, many of them within the reach of the average magician. And these aren’t just run-of-the-mill, lame-o card tricks. There is some very good coin material, a trick with a beer mat, and a cups and balls routine that are all worth studying. Most DVDs describe 9 or 10 tricks at most, and run about an hour. This one more than doubles those numbers, and provides high-quality content to boot. This is not a hackneyed re-hashing of someone else’s material. It’s good stuff, well performed, and well thought-out. Right there, you’ve got a winner.

Like all the Flicking Fingers, Manuel hails from Germany. As such, the DVD is presented in both German and English. This is not a case of mere subtitling or dubbing. The entire DVD was actually shot in both languages. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty, especially for a magic DVD.

However…

While Manuel’s command of the English language is excellent (far better than my German, no doubt), I think something has been lost in the translation.

Manuel presents his magic “ which is of the gasp-getting, close-up/parlor kind “ veiled in lots of comedy and humor “lite.” He riddles his FISM winning act, which is performed (but not explained) on the DVD, with lots of jokes, some more subtle than others. Unfortunately, at least for me, while the magic is good (VERY good in spots, especially his work with a lit cigar, and his champagne bottle trick), the presentation falls flat on screen.

Maybe this is due to the fact that in English, the jokes don’t play. Or maybe (and more likely) is the fact that when you see someone performing live, in-person, there is no way the same energy or vibe can translate across the screen. I watched the performances in both languages just to test my theory, and it seems to me that the audience was no more enthusiastic or cheerful when the lines were spoken en Deustch. Of course, this may also have to do with the fact that the crowd was not hired from a modeling agency and given instructions to clap like trained seals (and bark like them, too), a technique other magic DVD producers have used with great success.

The other downfall, in my mind, is that Manuel spends a healthy portion of the DVD’s 150 minutes discussing his thoughts on misdirection techniques. He illustrates a few points during this portion of the program with tricks, including the sleeving of a lit candle (which is very effective), but this material, while valuable, and clearly coming from the mind of someone who’s given the subject a lot of thought, should not be presented in DVD format. In fact, while the tricks on the DVD are all very good, the thoughts Manuel shares about misdirection might be even more valuable to the viewer.

Unfortunately, this information is better suited to the printed page, where it can be considered thoughtfully, and studied. As it is, Manuel comes across as a talking head, spouting off at great length. My suspicion is that more than a few purchasers of this DVD will immediately skip to the performance and explanation segments of this DVD, bypassing the theoretical discussion entirely. What a shame.

Three and a half stars.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Done by Misdirection DVD

Author: Manuel Muerte
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $45.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Manuel Muerte, FISM winner, Master of Misdirection and member of the Flicking Fingers Demonstrates his tried and tested tricks in front of a live audience.

Clear and easy instructions allow insight not only into the methods, but also into the basic principles and philosophies.

  • In over two hours of viewing time, you will learn 21 original stage and close-up routines.
  • You will accompany Manuel Muerte for a day in Berlin, learning the fundamentals of misdirection.
  • And as a special bonus, Manuel Muerte will perform his award-winning FISM number for the first time on DVD!

English and German Version on One DVD!



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