Magic is one of those things that is all in the eye of the beholder, so it truly depends on if you are willing to let your mind believe or continue to doubt the “impossible.” Whether it is something like pinpointing a person’s card in a deck of fifty-two or making the Statue of Liberty disappear, magic is all slight of hand and feats of prestidigitation. The appeal of magic is if you are willing and able to watch something and not just totally crap on it, but wonder how it was done without ever really knowing. This is what makes us break free from reality and let’s us imagine for just a little bit that something that could never possibly happen…did. It could be the feats of Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, or Harry Anderson; regardless, magic is beautiful and entertaining no matter how it is presented as long as you can believe.
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.
5 Lives was a special five-part television event that aired on A&E showcasing five of the biggest illusions that Criss has ever done. His television series is devoted to his life as well as a number of tricks per episode, but this special let each part focus on just one major trick each. These are some of the most confusing yet dangerous illusions that have been performed by Angel or anyone for that matter. Each one is rather unique and quite interesting. For instance, “White Death” takes the being buried alive concept and knocks it up a level. Not only is he buried alive but it is in freezing temperatures as he is surrounded by ice and snow. My other favorite in this set is “Death Crash” which also has to do with coffins. A three-ton vehicle crushes five coffins, one of which Angel is locked up in, and he must try to escape before it is too late. 5 Lives is a tremendous collection that brings forth some of his most phenomenal tricks.
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 am 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.
Criss Angel has truly become one of my favorite magicians so it should come as no surprise that I loved this special. Each episode was fantastic and not included in any of the individual season sets, but it was in the huge Mindfreak Collector’s Edition, so if you already have that then don’t bother picking this one up. If you only have the seasons though then add this to your collection because it really is well worth it. Angel’s tricks are mind-blowing and getting better as time goes on so grab this one…before it DISAPPEARS! Sorry, that was cheesy huh?
A&E Home Entertainment presents The 5 Lives Of Criss Angel: Mindfreak. Created by: Criss Angel. Starring: Criss Angel, Banachek, and many more. Running time: 235 minutes on 2 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: December 15, 2009. Available at Amazon.com