Draven Reviews: 7 Remastered by Lyndon Jugalbot

not approvedTitle: 7 Remastered

Artist: Lyndon Jugalbot

Producers: Skyember Presents

Retail Price: $29.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: 37 Minutes

Includes:

  • Instructional DVD
  • Necessary Gimmicks

 

Features:

  • Play All

Every now and again you take a gamble on a magic product. You tell yourself that the warning signs such as bad grammar on the back of the DVD is only because it’s probably foreign produced and something got lost in the translation. You tell yourself that the magic on the DVD is going to be good magic because you’ve never heard of the production company or the artist before. Maybe it’ll be something new? Something exotic? Maybe there will be some gem stone on the DVD that you’ll end up using as a staple in your act for the rest of your career? Or maybe you’re just fooling yourself into believing that the product is going to be a lot better than it is. Sadly with 7 Remastered the warning signs of a bad product were written all over it, and yet I fell for it hook line and sinker. Before I dig into this DVD let me first at least dig into the ad copy that’s written on the back of it.

The DVD starts off with “After long days of discussion with… Lyndon… finally managed to re-release 4 of his effects in a DVD with us.” Red flag numbers one and two. It took them long days, plural, to re-release four original effects. Since the title of the DVD is 7 Remastered I’m going to assume that there is something about these effects that aren’t quite what the artist originally presented them as.

The DVD next says: “These four effects are remastered where the effects and handlings are enhanced.” Ah! Well then guess my deductive reasoning skills aren’t as shoddy as I thought they’d be.

And incase these four remastered effects aren’t enough value for you they’re also going to throw in three of his underground signature effects, red flag number three- underground can mean untested, for good measure.

Add in two more red flags for an unknown artist, and unknown production company and consider the final red flag being the bad grammar of “never let it limited by your imagination” on the description of the final effect on the DVD “Mystique”, and you’ve got the signs that this could very well be a mistake.

Sadly, despite Lyndon’s very creative mind the magic you see in this DVD isn’t anything special. A lot of this stuff is just home brew solutions to plots that have better, and equally more commercial solutions to. I applaud the artists accomplishment on being published, and it’s very clear that he possess a very creative mind, but none of the effects in this DVD really has any working potential that, as I’ve already said, can’t be done better with more popular known methods.

Let’s take a look at what he teaches, and I’ll give you my opinions on each.

  • Haunted Wallet 2.0 This effect is reversible in that you can cause bills to either rise out of your wallet or sink back into your wallet all by themselves. Surprisingly this is one of the better tricks on this DVD. The gimmick needed for this, like everything in this DVD will require some construction. With some proper production power behind it, some cad skills and a 3D printer, you could actually probably construct a more durable gimmick that will work better and last longer than the one suggested in the DVD. At any rate this effect is salvageable.
  • Gravitation: This trick just doesn’t hold up well in practical use. The gimmick used to animate the bill is so simple but it doesn’t give you the best animation compared to other methods like using ITR for example. Other methods, like ITR, could achieve the same results with the added bonus of levitation. The method on Gravitation is just inferior to other solutions that are out there.
  • Fortuna: Folded card placed outside a folded bill instantly penetrates the bill and appears inside the bill. I have a few problems with this effect. For starters a few years ago there was a card trick titled “I hate David Coperfield” that did something similar using three playing cards, and in my opinion once again, does it better than Fortuna. The gimmick for the two are also quite similar with the older version being better in my opinion. Secondly the gimmick you have to construct is obvious. Even during the presentation the gimmick flashes to the camera and that’s never a good thing. Lastly considering you have to switch in the gimmick, you’d also have to switch out the gimmick too because you can’t examine it. So it’s a great idea. It’s just not the best method I feel.
  • Fraction: A card that is blue backed is pushed behind a card that is red backed, and when it comes out the other side, the color has changed. After some really awkward transitioning of grips a quick flick and the red portion of the card instantly turns blue again. This kind of reminds me of the classic “Card Warp” effect, which not only looks better but ends cleaner. Also Fraction once again uses cards that can’t be examined by the spectator, and given how the gimmick is constructed may not be very convincing close up which is the only place you’d be performing this trick from.
  • Dispense: This is a version of a Torn and Restored card effect that loads the torn corner into the spectator’s wallet after a very sudden and visual vanish with it laying on top of the deck. Many of the effects on this DVD really overuse the method in this gimmick construction and this effect is no different. This is possibly another salvageable effect because it IS visual, and you could always switch out the gaff card for a duplicate… but honestly at the end of the day it’s a TNR plot and there are just so any of those out there on the market as it is already. Some are much cleaner than this. This doesn’t really bring anything exciting to the table that would make it more preferable to another version.
  • Iswitch: A utility move that switches a card in your wallet for the card that you want. Say a spectators card. Nothing special here. It needlessly involves a prop for no real reason other than originality of the move. A top change would do the same thing. Again I find myself asking “Why would I use this move over others that I know?” Hell I’ve got switching wallets that are better built than this.
  • Mystique: A picture that is drawn on a card with marker instantly snaps off the card and appears on another nearby. It’s a visual effect and it looks pretty, but SandsMind has produced a similar trick that just has a better and cleaner handling. Once again the gimmick can’t be examined and you end somewhat dirty.

So you’ve got seven effects that all rely on homemade gimmicks, that for the most part can be accomplished cleaner or better by using other published methods. There just really isn’t anything useful or horribly original here. I’m sure Lyndon is a very creative guy, but this DVD isn’t his best work. At least I hope it’s not his best work. The gimmicks can be easily constructed from the items included in the DVD, and a few spare playing cards. You’ll need to use a hobby knife so younger kids will need adult supervision. Considering the money spent to buy the DVD, the time spent making the gimmicks, and the time spent, more like lost, learning to perform these tricks you could have instead mastered something that you’ll actually use for something other than youtube magic. None of these effects I’d consider too practical, and over all this was just a waste of time and money. Avoid 7 Remastered. You won’t miss a thing if you do.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 3

Really expensive for a bunch of home brew magic. Heavy reliance on gaffs to the point where you can’t have the objects examined.

Teaching Quality: 2

The teaching is non existent. You get to see him create the gimmicks, or run through the motions of performing, but no words. You have to read a lot of text on the screen to understand what’s going on.

Video & Sound Quality: 5

The video is okay but the back ground music gets annoying after five minutes.

Overall Quality: 3

Nothing in this DVD is of value. Every effect can be done better, cleaner, and sometimes more visually using other methods available on the market. I’m glad to see that Lyndon is being creative and putting himself out there but there is no commercial value in the magic taught on this product.

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews! Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: The Benz by Sean Fields

approvedTitle: Benz

Artist: Sean Fields

Producers: Murphy’s Magic

Retail Price: $34.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Length of Video: 31 Minutes

Includes:

  • Benz Gimmick
  • Link to Instructional Video Download

Features:

  • Play All

What is Benz? Benz is Sean Field’s solution to a coin bending device that is both effective and economical. This device is shaped like a simple car key, so at a casual glance no one will notice that in reality it’s a powerful metal bending utility prop capable of bending coins, nails, keys, or just about anything else you can put in there.

The Benz is only a fraction of the cost of other more expensive coin benders on the market which makes it an attractive find. Especially if you want to end your metal bending routine with a bent coin which goes home with your spectator as a souvenir. With the Benz you can easily prep another coin before you get to the grouping of people if you were in like a strolling environment. Hell it would even work back stage before your next show!

The Benz is very well made and should stand up to some heavy wear and tear. The only thing that concerns me is the rubber hinge. If anything is going to give out on this product it’s going to be that hinge, but the rubber is thick and durable looking so I suspect with proper care this is going to last quite a long time. Bending objects with the Benz is easy, and given the small size of the bender it’s possible to bend objects in real time before the spectator’s eyes.

The instructional video that you can download or view from a secure password protected portion of Murphy’s Magic website teaches you not only how to use the bender, but gives you a basic idea of how to reveal a bent coin inside of a magic trick. So if you’ve never used bent coins in your close up shows before this is a great product for starting to do that. If you’ve been using bent objects for sometime then you’ll be delighted at how easy and simple the Benz is to use. Some of the moves though are a bit of a pain to learn. Just a heads up, but they are well worth it. They look great!

So if you need a metal bender on a budget, or you’re looking at adding in metal bending as a part of your normal working routine then the Benz is the perfect place to start. I highly recommend it!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8

Good price, effective product, deceptive in operation.

Teaching Quality: 8

Sean’s teaching quality has come a long way since his Saw days. Some of the moves are difficult to learn and will require practice.

Video & Sound Quality: 8

Higher standards than most when it comes to online video quality. Good sound and video.

Overall Quality: 8

This is a powerful little utility device for bending small metal objects. If you already use bent objects in your act, get this. If you’ve never used bent objects in your act… get this! You’re not going to be disappointed.

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews! Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: Paragon by Jon Allen & D’Trick

approvedTitle: Paragon

Artist: Jon Allen

Price: £40 (plus postage)

Link: http://www.onlinemagicshop.co.uk

Producers: Jon Allen & D’Trik

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: About 30 Minutes long

Features:

  • Play All
  • Chapters
  • Extra

I had the privileged to witness Jon perform Paragon first hand while he was visiting California and performing at the Magic Castle. What I saw before me was the cleanest and most visual mystery box presentation that I’ve ever seen. I witnessed magic during that presentation, and being keen to the operations other lesser clear box principles I was blown away at how examinable his was. The box was clean from start to finish. Jaded after having reviewed a few mystery boxes before this one, I have to say Jon reduced me to child like wonder of someone watching a magic trick being performed for the very first time. Hands down Paragon has set the bar for crystal clear mystery boxes at an insane height. It will be some time before someone can come up with a better solution to this old plot.

You’re not going to get much with this product. Then again you don’t really NEED much either. When you open up your Paragon you’ll find the crystal clear box, a DVD, and a little extra secret something that will be useful during the construction phase of your “gimmick.” I’m going to put gimmick in quotation marks because it’s more like a non gimmick-gimmick and it’s really freaking hard to explain that any better without strait out giving it away. If you’ve worked with mystery box’s before in the past you may have a better clue what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, buy Paragon, get with the program, and you’ll probably never buy another mystery box again. There done. Said. Easy peasy.

The crystal box is relatively small and made from a really strong and durable acrylic plastic. I really don’t think you’ll ever have to worry about wearing this sucker out or breaking it. The lid comes completely off, and the lid and box can be examined completely after the trick is done. I guess in theory, depending on how you worked your routine the lid and box could be examined before the trick is done as well. That’d would just be up to you and maybe more hand washing than what is really necessary. I digress.

The box itself is about two fingers width wide, and half a thumb tall so it will travel comfortably inside your trouser or jacket pocket. With minimal props needed and a wide range of reveals possible, from billets, to cards, to money, to business cards, to blank pieces of paper,  this is a powerful multi-tool for magical mischief.

The construction of the gimmick… thing… takes roughly ten minutes, and that’s including ample time to allow the glue to dry. I’m all thumbs at making these things and it frustrates the hell out of me that magic has found a way to incorporate a do-it-yourself element with the products you buy these days on the market but hey… I can’t complain too much. At least the thing is simple to make. You’ll get enough secret stuff to make one gimmick, though the applications feature a wider range of possibilities. Part of me says “grr.” I’d like to have everything I need strait out of the box, but thankfully the DVD provides some really simple solutions and resources to make more secret stuff is easy enough to come by. In fact I didn’t have to leave my home even! I already had what I needed. And there’s some considerably flexibility too in what you can use to construct your secret stuff. Also, realistically, your average performer is going to use this for one type of revelation anyways, so the need for multiple gimmicks becomes moot.   At the end of the day if you need to make up more gimmicks they’re bloody easy to make, and the materials are stuff you probably already have in your home. The only thing really that could make this any better is if Jon included some magical little Elf that assembled everything for you while you slept. Jon… for future product releases look at including Elves.

Executing the magic move that makes Paragon the well…paragon of mystery boxes is so bloody simple. The move can be a little knacky to get right, so some practice maybe required for those of us who are a little uncoordinated or a little clumsy but it’s by far not impossible. Once you get this move mastered you will be so far ahead of your audience by the time you finish the trick that it will literally be impossible for them to catch up to you. Jon performed this three times right before my eyes and even I couldn’t catch him. Dear god though let me tell you I had a hand print on my forehead for a few days after I learned how he did it. It’s brilliant.

Paragon is going to change the way you look at the Mystery Box plot. It’s elegant in form and function, but not cumbersome to carry around with you. It’s minimalistic in what props it uses but it maximizes on magical potential by giving you a range of reveal options. It is powerful in close up, great for street, and visual enough to be seen from stage. With minimal effort to your presentation you can change up whether you want the card to be unfolded by the spectator or unfolded by you. Honestly I think it’s more magical when you unfold it because it builds suspense but who am I to tell you how to do your reveals? Signed card to impossible location will never be the same again. With a little creativity you can easily put Paragon into another sealed box thus changing the dynamic from a card in mystery crystal box to card in sealed nesting boxes a.k.a. impossible location. From magical applications, to mentalism, to just about any format you wish I’m sure you’ll be able to find a valuable place for this product in your repertoire.

Overall I’m very impressed with this product. I think it has a wide range of uses, and quite frankly I don’t think there’s going to be another Mystery Box that is going to come along for some time that is going to provide a cleaner, better solution than what Jon Allen has accomplished with Paragon. After having reviewed a few of these kinds of effects I can say if you’re only going to buy one, Paragon is it.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 10

Solid construction, easy to make gimmicks, secret stuff for gimmicks widely easy to come by, multiple applications, and visual impossible magic.

Teaching Quality: 10

Great tutorial. Easy to follow, simple to learn. The moves take a bit of practice but it isn’t impossible. Bonus- British accent.

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Sound and video aren’t exactly production studio quality, but it gets the job done.

Overall Quality: 10

I’ll never use another Mystery Box again. Not until something better comes along, and that isn’t going to be for quite a long time I’d imagine. Jon has set the bar high with Paragon.

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews! Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: Equilibrium by Daniel Meadows

approvedTitle: Equilibrium

Artist: Daniel Meadows

Producers: Magic World

Retail Price: $24.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: 31 minutes

Includes:

  • Instructional DVD
  • Two Gimmicked Playing Cards

Features:

  • Play All
  • Intro & Explanation
  • Common Pitfalls
  • Hands Off Method
  • Bonus

Synchronicity can be established with your spectator. You can prove this by having them cut off a portion of the deck. You then deal out a number of cards you feel is right, and it matches the number the spectator cut off every time! Equilibrium is a remake on an older classic that’s fun and simple to do. It’s a highbred blend of mentalism and card magic that works on stage, or for close up.

Equilibrium is a great little non card magic card trick. I say that because yes you’ll use a deck of cards but you don’t use them in the usual way. There’s no pick a card element involved. You’re using the cards more as a tool to establish an unconscious connection with your spectator.

The trick itself is devilishly simple to do, and the supplied gimmicks do all the nasty work for you. The best thing is that the gimmicks are 100% completely invisible. There’s no guilt, there’s nothing to worry about getting caught out, there’s nothing for the spectator to suspect. What’s better is that this trick can instantly reset itself and you can repeat it if you wish over and over again. Each time you can add another level of difficulty such as blindfolding yourself or using two decks and yet you’ll still hit the number of cards the spectator cut off bang on every time.

There isn’t any difficult sleight of hand to learn which leaves you completely free to devote all your attention to presentation. The gimmicks supplied to you will integrate seamlessly into any standard red or blue Bicycle brand Rider back deck.

The bonus section gives you some other ideas on how you can use the gimmick cards to create other card magic type effects thus making the Equilibrium gimmick more of a utility device than a one trick pony. Props because I love the utility devices!

This is a great effect. It’s flexible enough to be used as an opening number to a mentalism act as you attempt to establish a connection with your audience, or it could be played off as you have an insane mastery of cards and know just how many cards someone has just by look and weight. It plays well for stage, or for close up, and the instant reset-ability makes it a valuable piece for strolling magic. For two simple little gimmicked playing cards you get a hell of a lot of play. This is something worth looking into regardless of your interests in magic.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8

Great bang for your buck. The gimmicks are invisible and work seamlessly in any standard deck of Bicycle cards.

Teaching Quality: 8

Great tutorial, and easy to learn. You’ll be coming up with your own presentation in minutes.

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Great sound and video.

Overall Quality: 9

This is one of those tricks that can build on itself really easily without you having to do any difficult work. This is a pure presentation piece, and in the hands of a showman a reputation maker.

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews! Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: Counterfeit by Daniel Meadows

approved

Title: Counterfeit

Artist: Daniel Meadows

Producers: Magic World

Retail Price: $24.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: 17 Minutes

Includes:

  • Instructional DVD
  • 6 Specially Printed Cards

Features:

  • Play All

This is a fun little packet trick that uses cards but not in the traditional way you’re used to. The magician presents six cards each with a familiar yet odd sounding movie title. For example “The Hunger Pains.” The spectator is asked to select one movie title for themselves, and one for you. The four remaining cards have the word “That” written on their backs with the backs themselves being one color, while the two selected have “This” written on them and their backs are of a different color. It’s quite an interesting presentation!

The DVD comes with the six specially printed cards you need to perform this trick. I wish the cards were made better. It looks like either the images were ink jet printed on the cards or they used really low quality images to print from. Also in the demo Daniel uses an envelope with “counterfeit” written on it which isn’t included. Not horribly hard to make mind you, but still. It goes to further the feeling that the production of the actual props was rushed. The cards are standard size so this makes for a great packet trick that can live in your wallet and be used anytime you need something fast and fun.

The trick is pretty fun to do. The package says there’s “no memory work” involved and that’s a bit of a misnomer. There’s a little memory work involved with keeping in your mind which movies tie into which ending, but the good news is there’s a hidden mnemonic code to help you with that. Also since there are only six cards and two groupings at the end it really won’t take you long at all to remember which moves go with which grouping. Word play is very strong with this effect and its use of “This” card or “That” card. This gives it an added kicker ending when the reveal is shown that they’ve selected the only two cards that match. I’m also grateful that the backings of the cards that I received with the DVD aren’t Bicycle brand. The sort of generic star backing on the cards gives this less of a card trick feel and more emphasis on the movie plot line. Also given the comedic movie titles there’s lots of room for some comedy byplay should that be something you like to do with your audience.

The hardest sleight you’ll have to know how to do is the Elmsly count. Granted there are a lot of better resources to learn this move from out there but if you’ve never seen it done before then Daniel does run through it. This makes Counterfeit a solid selection for beginner or a pro.

Counterfeit plays strongly in the close up environment where you have a small group of people in an intimate setting. Because the cards are the size of regular playing cards they lose all their impact from any decent distance. The reset on this trick is near instant, which means strolling, and street guys are going to love it. Overall it’s a pretty easy trick to learn, fun to perform, practical for close up work, and has a fun comedy movie/ pop culture tie in.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 6

The price is a bit of a setback for this effect. You’re basically paying for the DVD, since the props could almost be remade from home with a little Photoshop, and some higher grade images plus a trip to Kinko’s (or your favorite local print shop.) However it is fun to perform and easy to learn.

Teaching Quality: 8

Daniel’s a great teacher. This is a quick learner.

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Good sound and video.

Overall Quality: 7

What a fun little trick. It’s refreshing to see something come along that uses cards but doesn’t rely on the standard card plots.

Have a product you want reviewed? Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval? Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews! Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: Wishbone by Paul Harris & Bro Gilbert

approved Title: Wishbone
Artist: Bro Gilbert & Paul Harris
Producers: Paul Harris Presents
Retail Price: $34.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD:  21 Minutes
Includes:
•    Download Instructional Video Link
•    Box full of “Wishbones”

Features:
•    Downloadable Instruction DVD

Magic for everyday people done right before their eyes using objects that they are familiar with makes for some powerful lasting impressions.  Organic magic, like what we see with Wishbone, is on popular demand and who better to bring it to life than the creative minds of Paul Harris and Bro Gilbert?

Wishbone comes packed in a long black box, and it is stocked full of enough “wishbones” to keep you performing for quite some time.  The product even includes several extra ones for the purpose of setting up your gimmick and practicing the effect.  It’s the simplicity of the magic that makes this so powerful.  You offer two spectators the opportunity to sign their initials on two wooden coffee stirs that you just happen to have with you.  You break off the ends of the stirs with their initials and you ask them to hold onto those ends.  After a short while they “feel” the magic start to take place, and when they open their hands the two separate ends with their signatures have fused together into one piece!  It’s simple.  It’s direct.  And it’s impactful.

Wishbone doesn’t make use of printed instructions or the inclusion of a DVD for teaching you the effect.  Instead there are instructions that direct you to an online video that you can also later download should you wish a more accessible option.  The good news is this cuts down on the bulk of the packaging, but the bad news is it forces you to have a computer and internet if you’re going to figure out how to do this trick.  Computers with internet access is becoming less and less of a major deal these days, considering how powerful smart phones are getting, but I have to throw this in here because someone, somewhere out there may need to know this before they go and buy this trick.

The video is under thirty minutes in length and is fairly easy to follow.  There are two different handlings for the effect, one that is pretty easy to do and another more complicated handling which covers up a few weaknesses in the original version.  Honestly- after having tried it out with both handlings the super easy handling taught first on the video is going to be more than enough to work for most people.  Sure the advanced handling gives you the option of a more open display but really at the end of the day I think it’s splitting hairs to compare the two.

For organic street or close up magic Wishbone is going to be a fan favorite.  It’s simple to     master, and it’s a fun miracle that leaves the spectators with a souvenir of their experience.  This is great to perform for couples!  It plays just as strong if not stronger in a casual setting as it would in formal close up.  This is going to be a favorite among strolling magicians.  It’s a great opener, and works well enough as a standalone or one off.  I loved it!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 9
Great price, and you get a lot of product to practice and play with.  The downside though is that you’re going to need to keep restocking if you plan to do this one for a while.

Teaching Quality: 9
Easy and fun to do.  You can master this in minutes.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
For an internet video the sound and video quality isn’t bad.

Overall Quality: 9
Paul Harris and Bro Gilbert doesn’t disappoint!  Wishbone is a wish come true.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at http://www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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Draven Reviews: Sizzle by John Bannon

approved

Title: Sizzle

Artist: John Bannon

Producers: Big Blind Media

Retail Price: $27.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Includes:

  • Instructional DVD
  • Cards

Features:

  • Play All
  • Performance
  • Explanation
  • Bonus
  • Trailers

First there was Alex Elmsly’s Dazzle, a very visual but very hard to perform packet trick that used gaff cards that were difficult to come by. But then came Bannon and the entire thing got redesigned into the masterpiece six phase packet trick that it is today. John’s stripped out the difficult moves, cut down on the hard to find gaffs, and included everything you need to get up and running with it. John Bannon’s Sizzle just maybe the last packet trick you ever buy.

So enough with the marketing rhetoric and let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this trick. Basically in presentation you’re going to show six Jokers and an Ace of Spades. The Jokers are all going to start off with the same colored backs, but soon enough their backs are all going to change color when they come into contact with the Ace of Spades, but it doesn’t stop there. Each time they change color with contact to the Ace of Spades, all the Jokers turn that color. When they are touched to the Ace again the faces all turn into a royal flush in spades. Frankly as fun and amazing as the color changes are and of course the shocking twisted ending the motivation for doing this trick is little more than magical mischief. You’re doing something because you can and filling in the dead space with lame and often weak excuses to justify your moves. Great trick visually, horrible trick when it comes to plot and storytelling.

Included in the trick are all the cards you need to perform this effect. The Elmsly count is going to be the hardest sleight of hand move that you’ll be required to know, and if you don’t know it already then it’s taught fairly well on the DVD. All in all this is a fun visual packet trick to do, and your spectators are going to see some dazzling color changes and an impossible twist ending, but the reality is none of it is really motivated or flows together very well. It’s great for strolling magicians, or close up performers, or even street workers. It fits into your wallet pretty easily, and it’s a strong go to piece if you’re ever in the mood for mindless magic. However if you require your tricks to have more meaning you may find yourself in need of rewriting the presentation to have a bit more substance to it than what it comes packaged with.

Overall this trick seems to me to be something that card enthusiasts will go nuts over. It’s easy enough to learn that even newer magicians should be able to get a lot of work out of it, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for me on a personal level. I just don’t like crappy presentations that use cheap excuses like “The Ace is a trouble shooter card” as if the different colored backs presented any real trouble within the confines of the presentation. At this point the effect would be better performed silent than having you spew this magical bile all over the place. Get rid of the crappy script and you’ve got a visually pleasing, easy to reset, pocket sized miracle on your hands.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 7

Good price, good illusion, piss poor scripting.

Teaching Quality: 8

Easy and quick to learn. The Elmsly Count being the hardest thing you’ll need to know.

Video & Sound Quality: 9

Great sound and video.

Overall Quality: 8

Ultimately this is unmotivated visual magic for card magicians. If you can find a way to work around the script issue, Or if you don’t care about having good scripts to begin with then this is going to be something you’ll probably love.

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