Draven Reviews: Trickopolis by Tony Chris

not approvedTitle: Trickopolis
Artist: Tony Chris
Producers: Tony Chris
Link: This can be purchased through any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailers.
Retail Price: $29.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 1 hour 48 minutes
Notes:  Some construction of gaffs will be required.

 

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Chapters

Trickopolis is a collection of ten different commercial “quirky” card tricks requiring little sleight of hand and maximizing on leaving the spectator with a lasting impression.

Tony Chris is one of my favorite producers of magical effects.  His DVD on Bizarre magic was my first introduction into that genre of performance and went a long way in molding my stage character so when he came out with Trickopolis I was all ears.  The DVD has ten different card tricks on it, and each one has its own unique “quirk” to it.  The ad copy claims that these are “quirky tricks for real people in the real world.”  Maybe this is just me being a pedantic prat nit picking this apart but the first thing that ran through my mind is “Aren’t all magic tricks suppose to be done for real people in the real world?” and then my mind immediately goes to pieces of crap magic like Alpha Cards or Flat Line and I retract my snarky statement.  Some of the tricks on the DVD are quite neat and there are a couple that weren’t all that great.  The DVD is over an hour and half of material linked together by the running gag that the young spectator helping him isn’t allowed to leave until the video project is done.  I thought this was a cute gag, and as the video progresses we see the young spectator get tied up, and eventually strait jacketed in order to keep him there to see more card tricks.  Undoubtedly this is humor that would be wasted on anyone who isn’t a magician.

In the DVD Tony teaches ten different effects.  They are titled: Foretell, Cardicus Impossibillicus, A Little Miracle, All Torn Up, Enter The Dragon, Catch Me If You Can, Secret Mark, Scratched, Open & Shut, and Those About To Rock.  Some of the effects will require you to make a gaff of some kind and thankfully most of them are pretty simple to make.  You’re going to need all the usual stuff like scissors or a hobby knife, glue, tape, etc. Tony teaches you how to make the gaffs needed so there’s no guess work on that.  Let’s go ahead and discuss some of the effects taught on this DVD.

Foretell:  Foretell is a re-packaging of an effect he used to sell through his website of the same name. (maybe he still does?)  The original effect was marketed as a “Goth prediction effect” although admittedly the only thing really Goth about it was the custom printed cards it came with. The effect is actually a pretty cool one.  You put a card out that serves as a prediction of sorts, and then you give the spectator the option to choose one of four cards of a different back color than the prediction.  No matter what they choose their card matches the prediction, and all others are revealed to be jokers.  True to the quirky nature of the DVD the handling on this effect can be interesting but once you get it down it’s a pretty neat packet trick.

A Little Miracle: Another prediction effect where the card selected ultimately matches the prediction in play.  The difference is that you seem to make a mistake and get the wrong card, to make up for that mistake you seemingly pull a tiny card that matches the spectators selected card out of the wrong prediction card.  It’s visual but you can’t let the spectator handle the prediction card.

All Torn Up: Tony presents his take on the classic torn and restored card plot.  The card is torn into four pieces, placed on top of the deck, cut into the middle, and magically its ripped edges are healed back up to a single card once again.  There are a lot of TNR effects on the market that are far superior to this one in visual impact.  Honestly having the cards magically restored by the deck just screams gimmick to me, and I’m sure the laymen will think the same thing too.

Enter The Dragon: A karate themed title for a karate themed card trick.  The spectator selects a card, it’s lost in the deck, and then with a simple karate chop the spectators selected card is broken in two!  Yeah the presentation is about as unmotivated as the magic.  The reveal is the spectator’s card that has been cut in half all jagged like as if it were shattered.  The plot on this one is about as thin as the paper the cards are printed on.

Secret Mark: The spectator selects a card from a deck, and then puts it back.  The magician explains that the deck is a marked deck, and fans the cards to reveal that there is a picture of actor Mark Wahlberg in the deck.  When the picture is turned over it matches the spectator’s card.

Scratched: The magician rather uncomfortably invades the personal space of the spectator to sniff and smell them in order to determine if the card trick is even going to work or not.  After affirming that the trick should work a card is selected and returned to the deck to be cut to the middle.  The magician then sniffs the deck in order to “pick up on the spectators sent” and reveals correctly the selected card.

Those About To Rock:  A spectator selects a card returns it to the deck.  The magician tries to find the card but can’t.  The magician remarks “where could your card be?  Is it hiding under a rock?”  Then the magician spreads the cards out until they come to a card with the picture of a rock on it.  The next card below it is the spectator’s selected card.  The spectator’s card was hiding under a rock the entire time!  If the spectator doesn’t kill you for the lame card trick then they surely will for the horrible joke.

The card tricks in this DVD are painfully basic which may be a good thing for a hobbyist or maybe a newcomer to the art of magic but most of these plots are just not usable to the working professional.  The plots often revolve around the concept of the magician not being “good” at his job, which is a concept in magic that I personally don’t agree with.  You are the magician you had better be good at your job!  But I digress.  The humor in the effects often comes as a pun based off what the performer says during the routine.  The puns aren’t even funny most of the time and generally are very literal in their reveal.  Case in point the effect titled “Those about to rock”, or “Secret Mark”.  While most of these tricks look like something someone would come up with after just reading a basic primer into card magic I do find promise in the first trick taught titled “Foretell”.  However one trick does not justify an entire DVD worth of crap material.  Just buy Foretell by itself strait from Tony’s website and while the instructions are in written format, you can still figure out the handling just as easy as if you watched this DVD.

Overall I was disappointed with this DVD.  It looks like Tony went through his notebooks and just published a lot of his earlier material for the sake of pumping out a product.  Skip this one folks.  It’s just not worth 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: 3
You are paying way too much money for beginner level tricks that most people won’t use.  The advertisement says “Quirky tricks for real people in the real world.”  And I just don’t see how anyone would realistically use these tricks.

Teaching Quality: 4
Tony knows how to teach magic, and you’ll learn how to do these tricks without ease.  However his lack luster presentation, and paper thin plot lines will leave you groaning about as loudly as the jokes will.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
The sound and video are the only things consistently good with this product.

Overall Quality: 3
I love Tony.  I love his work and it really hurts me to fail a product of his, but a steaming pile of dog crap is a steaming pile of dog crap.  I have to call it like I see it.  Skip this one folks, it’s not worth it.  Even if you are a beginner in magic you’ll learn more from Royal Road, Mark Wilson’s Course, or Tarbell than what you can use in this DVD.

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!

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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