Alright so I’ll admit that I can’t always figure out how Criss Angel does the things that he does. I’ve been watching magic for a good twenty years or more of my twenty-nine years on this Earth and a lot of the tricks I’ve seen done are either easily figured out or can be after a little deduction. Hell, I saw David Copperfield get sawed in half by a good six-foot blade when I was younger and at the time my mind wasn’t able to grasp what was being performed before my very eyes. Over time and with a decent amount of research, I do believe the trick has been figured out and it’s a hell of an illusion. Angel on the other hand has both my eyes and my mind freaking out on just about every trick he does.
Magic isn’t for everyone, but it certainly seems like everyone thinks they can do it. Copperfield knew what it took to make it popular in the late eighties and early nineties. Penn & Teller knew how to tell extremely graphic jokes while performing some of the greatest feats of prestidigitation ever seen by the human eye. The Amazing Jonathan came along and focused on doing a lot more comedy then magic, but the tricks he did were still cool. Then along came Criss Angel that took magic to new heights. He showed up looking like a depressed emo kid and took his act to the streets in Mindfreak.
Angel has taken his act off of the stages like every magician you’ve seen before and put it into the streets, on the docks, and sometimes even on top of hotels. He performs great feats that can amaze you in seconds like little card tricks or making things disappear. Those are fantastic to shock the pants off of any Joe Schmo simply walking by. But it is the grander scale on which he pulls off awesome stuns like escaping from a van full of explosives aimed at the edge of a cliff. Or perhaps it is his levitating atop the Luxor Hotel that is sure to make anyone tighten up on their couch. Angel knows what will blow your mind, but he also knows what will amaze and that is another place he differs from your common everyday magician.
Continuing the trend that Angel began in the third season of Mindfreak; the focus isn’t merely on tricks and magic acts but also a running storyline of sorts. There is a bit of a reality show feel to it as Angel may be in the same city performing tricks for a couple episodes instead of always being somewhere else. You’ll learn a good bit more about the personal life of Angel and what he struggles with in the world of magic that may make certain tricks or illusions difficult for him. Particular tricks that have plagued him before are revisited as well so that he can try and conquer them once and for all. Seasons one and two were all about the magic, but since it’s Angel’s show, I guess he wanted it to be a little bit more about him and everything that comes with him. Hell, it’s not bad but I was fine with just lots of cool magic that I couldn’t figure out.
Two of my favorite episodes from this season are those when he is in New Orleans, but that is probably a bias because it is my hometown. The essence of the city along with the history adds a lot of cool feelings to the magic and everything is presented with such wonderful backgrounds that all of Angel’s illusions appear taken to new levels.
Walk On Lake
Building Implosion Escape
Spirits Of New Orleans
Escape Over Bourbon Street
In Your Face
Mindfreaking With The Stars
24-Hour Birthday Bash
Car Wreck Vanish
Silverton Final Attempt
The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and look as good as they did when originally airing on television and possibly even better. All colors are bright and crisp with no noticeable transfer problems.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and while it could be argued that the stereo sound is all that is needed for this series; I was rather disappointed. Mindfreak has some fantastic music throughout each episode and it would have done it good to have it fill the room instead of just coming through one speaker.
Behind The Scenes – Clips are shown here from particular tricks and episodes while magic consultants, producers, and more backstage crew members discuss them is what you mostly get here. The members of Criss’ magic team introduce themselves and there is even a pretty good interview with master magician Lance Burton. (11:12)
Additional Footage – Footage is shown from Criss’ childhood, memories from his relatives, getting started, the photo shoot with the MF13 motorcycle, and a small piece on some of the memorabilia that Criss likes to collect. Nothing much here. (14:19)
Mindfreak made almost a complete 180 from the first and second season into the third by taking a more dramatic turn to make the series a little bit more about Angel’s life instead of being all about the magic. Oddly enough, it took another 90 degree turn from season three to season four by taking some of the storyline away and focusing more on magic tricks and illusions which is what started it all in the first place. This fourth season is really quite good with a number of illusions that will absolutely blow your mind and even more so when you see the ease that Angel pulls them off with. There are also a good amount of big time stunts that are just insane, but a lot of fun to watch happen. As far as the special features go, there are less then thirty minutes of extra stuff and it’s barely even worth watching because none of it is really that interesting. When all is said and done, it’s a good series that doesn’t translate well into a DVD sense for the value. But that doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t pick it up for the episodes and those who love magic should rent or borrow a copy first to see if it’s worth a purchase in the long run. Abra-ca-hocus! Hocus-ca-dabra!
A&E Entertainment presents Criss Angel Mindfreak: The Complete Season Four. Created by: Criss Angel. Starring: Criss Angel, Banachek, and more. Running time: 462 minutes on 3 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: January 20, 2009. Available at Amazon.com