David Copperfield - Illusion (2001)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
The best-known illusions are all here (e.g., disappearance of the Statue of Liberty, walking through the Great Wall of China, the imploding building, the vanishing airplane), along with glimpses of artifacts (further detailed in the bonus features) from Copperfield's extensive, one-of-a-kind museum of magic tricks, automatons, and precious historical documents. And while Copperfield's commentary track necessarily avoids any explanation of how his illusions work, he gives generous credit to other illusionists who contributed their copyrighted work to these shows while explaining the logistical circumstances surrounding each illusion. He's also self-deprecating despite an obviously healthy ego, and the clip from Late Night with Conan O'Brien--in which a faux Copperfield performs ridiculous non-tricks on the streets of Manhattan--is a real hoot. Of course, any cynic could dismiss Copperfield's work as the product of precision engineering and rigorous rehearsal, but one simple fact remains: Not a single one of his marvelously staged illusions fails to delight and astonish. It's no mistake that the song "Young at Heart" is prominently featured; Copperfield invites us to embrace a childlike sense of wonder, making us partners in the act of defying everyday reality. Simply put, it's pure magic. --Jeff Shannon
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