Monday, June 10, 2013

Review 170: "Now You See Me"

"The closer you look, the less you see."

Mission Improbable

      Now You See Me never really struck me as a movie I needed to go out and see. I mean, granted, I thought the trailers looked fine, but this movie never really looked like anything special, which is why it's actual box office success is so surprising. But, when push came to shove, it was either this, After Earth, The Internship or The Purge. I think I made the right choice. Now You See Me is directed by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) and written by Ed Solomon (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure), Boaz Yakin (Safe) and Edward Ricourt. The film follows a group of 4 magicians, the control freak Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), mentalist McKinney (Woody Harrelson), female magician Henley (Isla Fisher) and newbie Wilder (Dave Franco) who are all chosen by a mysterious force to pull of a set of elaborate heists during their magic shows. Chasing after them are cops Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Alma (Melanie Laurent) who consult legendary magic debunker Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman) and a former colleague Tressler (Michael Caine). As their heists get more elaborate, the more lost the police get.

Best superpower ever. 
(Not So) Magic Man

      Now You See Me is one of those movies that is better than is could've been, but also not as good as is could've been. There is a surprising amount to like in this movie. The film is a pretty solid piece of summer blockbuster. There is a car chase, epic effects, lots of money, elaborate heists, a big secret and twist to go along with it. And it all does work. It might not be Fast and Furious level goofy fun, but it is fun. The characters are shallow, but the actors in this film a oddly high-caliber for a movie like this, so they get you invested in the story and wanting to keep watching. It the kind of film where the good is entertaining enough to out weigh the bad of it. See. while the film's first hour revolves around the magicians and is really fun and interesting, the second hour revolves around the cops, which, unfortunately, is significantly less interesting or fun.

The Final Trick

      There really is nothing too special with this movie. It's all stuff you've seen before and there have been movies that have done it better, like Ocean's 11, though without the magic. And while the film is very well-made, it still has it's share of stupid moments. As it turns out, the closer you look, the less there really is to see. First off, as cool as the magic shows are, it is hampered by the unavoidable fact that this is a movie, what's on-screen is clearly CGI and magic isn't really happening. The film also does contain a final twist that, let's just say, doesn't really work in the slightest. In fact, the whole last 10 minutes where kinda rushed and messy. And that's a recurring theme of the film. That the audience is actually getting tricked by the movie, however, while some of that is good writing, most of that seems to come from simple sloppiness. The twist isn't surprising because it's honestly surprising. Not, it's surprising because it comes out of left field and makes not a lot of sense. The tricks and heists are impressive simply because the film never explains a whole lot so we just gotta go with what they give us. Though, it does seems to be setting up a pretty cool sequel.

Surprisingly, the skimpiest outfit she wears
in the movie.
The Verdict

      Now You See Me might not be the most ground breaking film ever made or even really a great film. But it is solid summer entertainment in a couple of miserable weeks. The cast is bringing their A... okay maybe B-game, but they are good. The effects are great and make for some strongly fun scenes. And while the film is filled with plot holes and just simple messiness and lack of polish, it's still a fun movie that is entertaining enough to earn a watch. Just maybe of DVD. Now You See Me gets 4 stars out of 6.

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