Excerpt: Neil Burger's "The Illusionist" is a fascinating journey of intrigue that owes a lot to its distinctive look and feel, as well as to the fine performances and script. Clearly, it's one of the best films of the year.
Excerpt: As a young man, Edward Abramowitz was fascinated by two things, magic and the beautiful young duchess, Sophie. The son of a mere cabinet maker they are not allowed to be together and, denied one passion, Edward soon leaves 19th century Vienna to pursue his other love. Fifteen years later he returns as the renowned Eisenheim the Illusionist (Edward Norton), one of the greatest practioners of the craft who ever lived.
Excerpt: I have no idea why this happens or why it happens so often in Hollywood, but I call them “twin movies.” You know what I’m talking about, films that have a similiar theme or plot, though they have different actors. Movies like “Wyatt Earp” and “Tombstone”, “Volcano and Dante’s Peak”, “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Thin Red Line” and now we have (or had) “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist.
Excerpt: I’m a sucker for the Academy Awards. I don’t profess to have all the answers, have the “right” taste and essentially shrug my shoulders and will give any movie a chance. I think “The Academy” likes that, but then again they most likely don’t know I exist. I’m getting to a point, I promise. A few years back I was watching Roger Ebert’s TV show (when it was still on the air) and they reviewed a movie called “The Triplets of Belleville.
Excerpt: Jacques Tati was one of the most inspired comic writers, directors, and actors of the 20th century, though his sense of humor was so dry and subtle that his movies are often more brilliant than funny. The same can be said of the animated adaptation of Tati’s screenplay The Illusionist , in which director Sylvain Chomet ( The Triplets Of Bellville ) follows the travails of a M. Hulot-like magician in the UK in the early ’60s, as his style of showbiz falls out of favor.
Excerpt: The Movie Released within two months of The Prestige back in 2006, another star-driven period piece about European magicians (why does Hollywood do that?), The Illusionist is a touching, bittersweet romance about prestidigitator extraordinaire Eisenheim (Edward Norton) and Sophie (Jessica Biel), the aristocratic woman he has loved since they were both children growing up in Austria.
Conclusion: The biggest mystery about 'The Illusionist' is what has taken Fox so long to release it on Blu-ray. The film is an engaging period thriller with compelling performances and atmosphere. The high-def disc looks and sounds pretty great overall, despite a few flaws. Unfortunately, other than the commentary, the other bonus features are worthless. Still, this is a worthy recommendation.
Conclusion: While this is a great movie and I believe this release has the best picture quality it will get as well as excellent audio, I can’t whole-heartedly recommend this as the extras leave a lot to be desired. I hope that eventually a Director’s Cut Edition may be released with a lot more comprehensive extras and the commentary track on the HD disc. Because of the lacking nature of the special features I have downgraded my total to three out of five stars.