Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. -John Barrymore
Question #37432 posted on 07/05/2007 3:01 a.m.

So, I have a response, followed by a question:

Re Board Question #37294,

I would just like to warn you that The Illusionist is only VERY LOOSELY based on "Eisenheim the Illusionist." I mean, they are similar only in as far as the main characters are both named Eisenheim and they are both illusionists. I would not discourage anyone from reading the story; just be warned.

Now my multi-part question:

I wanted to see The Prestige, but missed it in the theaters. So I went to look for it at Blockbuster in Provo, and it wasn't there. Is it out on DVD yet? Do you know where I could find it? Most importantly: is it worth watching? For those of you who have seen both, which did you like better? Were Scarlett Johansson's weird lips less distracting than Jessica Biel's weird lips?

-Avocado the Disillusionist

A: Dear Green with Envy,

Yes, The Prestige is out on DVD. branflakes picked it up the very first day it was out, at the McDonald's Red Box ... at least two months ago. I imagine you can get it anywhere it isn't already being rented. Also in stores.

I liked The Prestige a million times better (I saw The Illusionist twice, both in the dollar theater, and the second time I slept through the whole thing until the last part, which is all I cared to see again ... granted, we went to a midnight showing), so I vote yes, it's worth seeing. I've noticed, though, that most people who really like one really dislike the other; so choose your own adventure, there.

A: Dear Avocado

As I've stated quite recently, I haven't seen The Illusionist just yet, so I can't make a comparison. But I absolutely loved The Prestige and will rave about it at a moments notice. And I'm not above having a spirited discussion with those who deride its quality.

After I saw it in the theater the first words I said were, "I need to see that again." A short time later I was able to see it again with an old friend of mine whose opinion I greatly value. All the while I was watching it for the second time, peeling away layers of insight into what I had not noticed before (really, it requires many viewings to appreciate the many elements of the narrative that are going on), I was also wondering what my friend's opinion of this film would be. As the credits began to roll he turned to me and said, "That (he paused for effect) was a perfect narrative." I eagerly told him, "The complexities of the plot can't even be appreciated on first viewing, you won't know how good it is until you see it again" (yes, we talk like Frasier and Niles Crane).

So my recommendation is: watch it once. Ponder the film. Discuss elements of it with friends (Is he a...or a...? When did they...? Where did he get...?). And then watch it again (not necessarily immediately, though if you're a film viewer of discriminating taste you may not be able to resist the temptation). Then decide whether you liked it or not.

I picked it up the first day it came out on DVD, so yes it is out there, and I've watched it a couple more times in the comfort of my apartment. And there are some intriguing special features as well.

-Humble Master