Written by Diane Tillis
Magic is a source of great debate. From the great magicians like Harry Houdini to the modern magicians like David Blaine, they continue to force their audiences to pick a side of the debate. Should you believe the truth of the trick? On the other hand, you could forget the truth and believe in the magic. Which side would you choose?
Criss Angel is a force to reckon with in the magician-entertainment business. He holds world records for the longest time submerged underwater (24 hours), the longest body suspension (5 hours, 42 minutes), the fastest time to perform the Metamorphosis illusion (under a second) and the fastest straitjacket escape (2 minutes & 30 seconds). In this sixth season of Mindfreak, Angel performs more of his death-defying tricks and teaches his audience a few tricks along the way.
Season six of Mindfreak contains six episodes, each running at about forty-two minutes long. Before performing the grand illusion for the episode, Angel includes interview clips from friends, family, and his magic team before the illusion. But where Angel shines is his street performances with complete strangers or guest stars. His personable nature is a key element in the performance to hide the truth of the trick from his audience. You focus less on what he is doing with his hands and more on what he is talking to you about. The street magic and the interviews build up to the grand illusion of the episode.
The Grand Canyon Death Jump is mystifying and rationally impossible. It is difficult to explain the trick, but it includes a T-Rex Hybrid motorcycle (I want one!), explosives, the Grand Canyon, and a helicopter. Angel performs the Luxor Walk by walking up the sleek walls of the famous Las Vegas hotel/casino at night. The Cement Shoes is a water escape trick based upon the stories of Mob lore. He is dumped into Lake Havasu partially encased in cement. Somehow, Angel manages to make 100 people disappear in 100 Gone! In Smash, Angel returns to Grand Canyon’s Sky Walk and he has to escape his suspension before time runs out. Levitation Vanish is a combination of two tricks. He levitates at 1000 feet off the ground and disappears.
The video aspect ratio is 1.33:1. The full screen frame fills up the screen, and the quality is the same as the original broadcasts. The show uses different artistic filters to give the episodes a stylistic feel. The colors are sometimes too bright. The black levels are fairly even. There is the occasional compression artifact like aliasing, but you rarely notice them.
The audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0. Each episode comes with an accompaniment of heavy rock music. The dialog is understandable against the heavy music and screaming fans.
There is one long forty-eight minute special feature called The Secrets Behind Criss Angel’s Tricks. Angel demonstrates seven tricks that you can perform at home or among friends. They include a ring toss, four card tricks, and two straw tricks. I tried them out myself, and they really do work!
I will admit I did not enjoy Mindfreak. I like to give everything a chance, but after one episode, I was bored. I would much rather be among the audience watching the performance on stage. I would also prefer to be one of the people on the street who came across the magician by accident. Watching magic tricks on television is not the same as seeing them in real life. Angel’s grand illusions are interesting enough, but I feel like I have seen them all before. Angel is very personable and a great performer. At this point in the series, the only people who will buy this DVD collection are fans. To everyone else, this could be an interesting rental. I do recommend trying the tricks Angel teaches you in the special features.