Draven Reviews: Skyline by Danny Weiser

not approved Title: Skyline
Artist: Danny Weiser
Producers: Blue Crown
Retail Price: $29.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 32 minutes
Notes:  None

 

 

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Explanations
•    Bonus

Skyline is a visual torn and restored card effect that requires no sleight of hand to perform.

There are a lot of Torn and Restored card tricks out on the market these days, and it seems like every other month or so someone creates a new way to do the classic plot.  When it comes to ripping a card to shreds and magically piecing it back together you’re not short on methods to accomplish this.  So at this point in time it’s really just a matter of figuring out which version suits your needs the best.  Enter Danny Weiser, the latest person to step up and add his spin on the classic TNR (Torn and Restored) plot.

Weiser’s Skyline approaches the torn and restored plot from the perspective of being easy to perform, and highly visual for the spectator watching.  Weiser’s approach utilizes a gimmick he created which functions very closely to the gimmick in his Upgrade effect.  The advantage is that unlike other torn and restored card plots in which you actually… you know… tear and restore a card with Skyline the cleverly built prop does all the hard work for you so you never have to waste a card again.

The gimmick comes with the DVD and is pretty sturdy in construction so it should hold up well for many performances.  The gimmick is designed to look like an ordinary playing card, so when placed in a deck it won’t stand out.   The gimmick is self working, and easy enough to figure out sans DVD.

The DVD is massively long for such a simple gimmick.  At thirty minutes you’d almost expect the bulk of the DVD to be a DIY course in building your own gimmick.  There isn’t, so if you ever break your gimmick or it just wears out you’re on your own to figure out how to make a new one or just buy a new one.

The DVD covers a couple different handlings for Skyline as well as a special bonus trick.  Those handlings are:

The Basic Performance:  This is an “in the hands” handling for this trick.  In this version you force a card selection, switch for the gimmick, “tear” the corner off, and restore it.  It’s as strait forward as you can get.

Ziploc Routine: You are still going to tear and restore the corner of the selected card as in the basic routine, but instead of doing it in your hands you instead put the card into a sealed Ziploc bag and then restore the card from inside the bag under seemingly impossible conditions.

No Hands Routine: In the No Hands routine the restoration happens after you place the torn card on the ground and step on it with your shoe.  You toss the torn piece to the ground and it instantly appears reattached to the corner of the card.  Your hands never touch the card.

Bonus Trick: In this trick you tear the corner off a selected card, tell the spectator that you are clumsy with cards and always get paper cuts so you have to carry Band-Aids with you, open up a Band-Aid and the missing corner to the ripped card is sealed inside the Band-Aid wrapper. You then use the Band-Aid to fix the ripped card and hand out as a souvenir.

Skyline is a creative product, and a neat idea but impractical as hell as a functioning product.  It’s a huge warning sign when the artist has to give you a “pro-tip” less than five minutes into the DVD to address the products most obvious flaw.

Skyline, due to the way it’s constructed, has the most obvious visual flaw under close observation.  Granted this visual problem isn’t such an issue when the effect is viewed at a distance but the DVD markets Skyline as a close up effect, and not one for stage.  Weiser even has issues himself trying to keep from flashing the gaff during the performance and explanation portions of his DVD.

The “tear” during performance creates a jarring disconnection with the performance of the illusion because of 1) How easy it is to tear a corner off a card, and 2) how clean the tear is. I mean it looks like you took a pair of scissors and clipped the corner off, not torn it off with your bare hands. I’ve torn a lot of cards in my day for various reasons and I’ve never seen a tear that clean and strait.   Another fault the “tear” suffers from is that the gimmick will sometimes flash and there’s nothing you can do about it.  It just seems to be a fault with construction.

There is also another visual esthetic about the card that I didn’t like.  I can’t go into too much details because of not wanting to expose this gimmick, but even at a casual distance certain construction elements that make up the gimmick is visible to the spectator.  There’s something to be said for the power of misdirection, sure.  But also spectators aren’t stupid.  I’m not convinced that this thing will be invisible to everyone.

So is it practical to be used in close up magic?  That’s a good question.  If by practical you mean having the ability to do a Torn and Restored card effect without the need of sleight of hand, glue, or tape then sure.  But I’ve played with it enough to just not be a fan of the way it handles.   It doesn’t matter how deceptive something may actually be in performance if the magician isn’t sold on the magic then their audiences will never be.  My audience reactions have been hit and miss with it, and it’s failed the majority of the time when shown to other magician friends of mine.  Surprisingly though I’ve never been called out on my gimmick.  At the end of the day if you’re going to add a torn and restored card effect to your routine there are a lot of other options out there that I feel are better than this one.

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
The gimmick is well constructed, and it’s pretty cleaver in what it does, but visually fails to pass itself off as being ordinary.

Teaching Quality: 8
Danny’s pretty easy to listen to.  He does a great job teaching the handling and effect.

Video & Sound Quality: 8
Good sound and video quality.

Overall Quality: 3
I admire the creativity Mr. Weiser has, but the visual flaws inherent with the gimmick, and scissor like precision of the apparent “tear” in the card make for a horrible Torn and Restored Card 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!

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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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