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Movie Match-up: "The Prestige" v. "The Illusionist"

As is typical in the “me-too” Hollywood these days, 2006 will present us with two period films about the art of magic. "The Prestige"; set for an October 20th release, and “The Illusionist”; released September 1st. Without having seen either of these films, let’s see how they stack up.


As it’s explained in the trailer, “The Prestige” refers to the third of three ‘acts’ that make up every good magic trick. It’s “the part with the twist and turns, where lives hang in the balance and you see something shocking you’ve never seen before.” That’s just cool. Especially when you say it with a creepy British accent.

Now on the contrary, the words “The Illusionist” just makes me think about David Copperfield, which is never a good thing. (note: I did a shot with DC at 2am in the Hard Rock Café at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. But that’s a story for another day)

Advantage: Prestige


“The Prestige” is directed by Christopher “The Schumacher Slayer” Nolan, the man behind the slick flick “Memento” and of course the resurrection of the Dark Knight himself in “Batman Begins”.

Virtually unknown sophomore director, Neil Burger directs “The Illusionist”. I say virtually unknown because there are a few true movie freaks out there that have seen his mockumentory about the alleged second gunman in the JFK assassination, “Interview with the Assassin”.

Advantage: Prestige


This is a tough category for me. I have an admiration for the talent and style of all four of the male leads in these films. However all things considered I have to go with Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and Christian “I’m Batman” Bale as friends-turned-rivals in “The Prestige” over Edward “The Narrator” Norton and Paul “that guy from Sideways” Giamatti in “The Illusionist”. Painful, I know, but life is full of tough decisions.

Advantage: Prestige (but it’s close)


Speaking of tough decisions. How does a guy (and/or lady) choose between Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson? I mean really. On the one hand you’ve got Esquire magazines 2005 “Sexiest Woman Alive”, Jessica Biel. On the other hand there’s FHM magazines 2006 “Sexiest Woman Alive” in Ms. Johansson. Both Jessica and Scarlett have green eyes (hazel counts as green) and light brown/dark blonde hair.

Advantage: Push


“The Illusionist” – That guy from Dark City, Rufus Sewell…and that’s about it

“The Prestige” – Michael Caine (back with Bale and Nolan), David Bowie (the Goblin King himself), Andy Serkis (non-CGI version), Piper Perabo (where have you gone Coyote Ugly?) and Ricky Jay (actual magician and Guiness Book of World Records holder for throwing a playing card 190 feet at 90 mph)

Advantage: not even close, Prestige


Both films garner a PG-13 rating however for slightly different reasons. “The Prestige” promises “violence and disturbing images” which is pretty cool if you ask me. However “The Illusionist” boasts “some sexuality and violence.

Advantage: Illusionist, no question.

So let’s see. After six hard fought rounds “The Prestige” knocks out “The Illusionist” with a big puff of smoke. Looks the real trick “The Illusionist” pulls off is making their points disappear.


Josh “mediaboy” Gryvatz

Posted by on September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
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