It's harmless, sure, but also painfully contrived, utterly predictable and completely forgettable.
What's it about?
All smoke and mirrors, Now You See Me is a vacuous caper film which boasts the same kind of shallow characterisations and annoying performances that drive equally flimsy Brit TV shows like Hustle and, more recently, By Any Means. It's harmless, sure, but also painfully contrived, utterly predictable and completely forgettable. At best, you'll waste two hours of your life getting to a frustratingly drawn-out conclusion that offers no logical justification for why the events took place in the first instance, making you literally wish you had skipped to the end just to get it over and done with.
The cast of familiar faces are almost universally annoying in their demented quests to be the most arrogant magicians on earth, with only Woody Harrelson remaining vaguely tolerable, unfortunately overshadowed by the soul-patch-wearing presence (or lack thereof) of Jesse Eisenberg, who is every bit as irritating as he was in The Social Network, only here without the razor sharp script required to make him at least notionally interesting.With The Incredible Hulk's Louis Leterrier on hand to direct we get equally shallow style - all glitz and glamour but no substance - with the camera spinning in 180/360 degree rolls for almost the entire first half of the movie, leaving you wondering whether Leterrier was concerned that if he stopped moving for a second, his audience would switch off. He's probably not wrong. This whole film is one big sleight of hand, a wannabe Ocean's instalment, whose twists and turns are every bit as vapid as its characters.
You'll wish it could make itself disappear.
How it looks and sounds
At least fans of the film will be please by the flawless presentation.
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is one of the most immersive mixes that I’ve come across recently, and clearly integral to your enjoyment of the movie, sweeping down out of the TV in waves that flood over you. Audiences cheer and clap, car engines roar and Vegas comes alive. The score further embellishes the mix, enriching the offering and giving the surrounds yet more to do, and dialogue gets pinpoint precision across the array – due to the number of players involved, this often spreads out beyond the usual fronts-and-centre rendition – but it’s the effects that most impress, with an accurately-crafted pitch-perfect soundscape designed to put you right in the thick of things during even the most elaborate trick setpiece. Showy but detailed, it’s reference material through and through, and notches up top score as a result.
Marrying up to the US release we get an Audio Commentary attached to the Theatrical Cut of the film, a fluffy quarter-hour making-of entitled Now You See Me Revealed, which offers up the usual cast and crew soundbites and final film footage clips, and A Brief History of Magic which briefly skips through a slew of real magicians whilst throwing further film clips into the mix. Half an hour of throwaway Deleted Scenes are barely worth watching but give you an idea just how much they threw at this feature hoping something would stick, and a couple of Trailers round off the disc.
The Big RevealOne cut, two cuts, extending this film largely just means you have more to endure. Now You See Me is frivolous, lightweight entertainment at its most shallow and vacuous; it is neither particularly painful to watch, nor in the least bit memorable - it's just empty. Excellent video and audio will make this Region B-locked UK release a good choice for fans, however, and a few extras add a cherry on top.
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