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DVD Review-David Blaine: Fearless

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DVD Review-David Blaine: Fearless
David Blaine: Fearless offers edited versions of Blain’s first three television specials: "Street Magic," "Magic Man," and "Frozen In Time." When the shows originally aired, they received lots of attention from magicians and the lay public and it’s great to watch these shows again on DVD. While there are DVD extras, the offerings are slim.

As Blaine states in his “Street Magic” introduction, his shows feature none of the traditional elements of magic specials: the studio audiences, boxes, music, smoke and assistants. It’s simply Blaine and his everyday audiences on the streets. His shows were innovative, fresh and different, and Blaine made a big name for himself as well as magic in the public’s eye. To this day, spectators still come up to me after my shows to ask about that guy on TV who levitated or made the card appear on the opposite side of a restaurant window.

Of course, Blaine has been controversial. When his shows first aired, many couldn’t believe that this young magician was able to land his own TV special, and furthermore, was performing tricks that almost any competent close-up magician could perform. And there was lots of discussion about how Blaine used editing to his advantage.

Frozen in Time

Among the three specials, the first two: “Street Magic” and “Magic Man” are the most fun. The third special, “Frozen in Time,” has some good magic sequences, but a lot of the show is dedicated to Blaine’s feat of standing for hours in a giant block of ice. Once you’ve seen the ice sequences, you probably don’t feel all that compelled to watch them again.

While the close-up magic is good, it’s most fun to watch the stunned and startled audiences. Highlights include the coins appearing in a cup of coffee, the carney thread trick where Blaine swallows thread and reproduces it, yanking the head off of a chicken, and, of course, the controversial levitation. In “Magic Man,” the second show, there are some entertaining segments where Blaine performs for superstitious audiences in Haiti and for indigenous people.

There are lots of card transposition effects including those made famous by David Williamson, and that stunning card through window. You may also recall the segments where Blaine brings a fly and a bird back to life, as well as his many mentalism effects.

DVD Extras

While the DVD extras are slim, there are two tantalizing nuggets. In “Magic Man,” the second show, Blaine performed for a small party in a New Orleans bar and ended-up producing a signed card from a beer bottle. In the show, it appeared that Blaine walked up to the crowd and performed the trick. But in the extras, there’s footage that shows that his performance was far more extensive and effectively allowed for pre-show work.

There’s also footage where Blaine performs the traditional, unedited levitation as it truly appears to live spectators. I’m surprised that Blaine released this as it effectively proves what magicians have known all along.

Blaine’s shows were entertaining when they originally aired and they’re fun to watch again on DVD. If you’re a fan of David Blaine, Fearless is a worthy addition to your DVD library. I was able to borrow it from NetFlicks. It’s certainly worth the rental.

-Wayne N. Kawamoto

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