An effect only looks easy when it is done flawlessly by a competent performer. That is the way it should be. It also appears easy when you have an insider knowledge of what is going on, nonetheless it still does not detract from what a layman will get out of it.
Also even from a technical standpoint which I have already stressed is irrelevant, Blaine does not exactly do only "easy" stuff. Push off doubles, Randy Holt's Curly Cue, Simple Switch, Shapeshifter, and the Hotshot Cut, to name only a few. Not easy to do well, and consistently without a lot of practice. He also does a very good one-handed riffle shuffle. But Blaine only does so much per special every 5 years, so we have not even seen a fraction of what he can do.
However Criss is getting the chance every single week and still coming up short as far as quality material. I think Criss' (<----
) character was a lot worse on "Supernatural" when he had the longer hair, bad clothes, and over-dramatized acting. Some of all which he still has, but not nearly as bad as he was. However I thought his material was better back then. I think if Blaine had a weekly special we would see some great things from him, and I personally love the fact that he is staying true to the art by doing legitimate magic that you usually can buy for a reasonable price at any dealer.
This actually gets more people involved in the art, and Blaine is still why the majority of members are at this forum. People motivated by Angel have been showing up within the last year or so, a new generation so to speak; and that is where the confliction lies. Most want to pick one or the other, but personally I see no comparison really. It just seems to me that Criss is trying to cover up for lack of close-up skill with bad camera work, and hoping that not many will notice. Probably laymen never will notice, but magicians are going to be watching as well.
So he is going to be discredited by working professionals for that, regardless of how small that particular fan base is. If you want proof just go to the Cafe'. Personally I find it far more impressive for a guy like Blaine to go out and do real magic with no cut-shots. I would not mind the occasional camera mishap, but Criss was cutting away, and jump-cutting EVERY single time on every show that a sleight was involved. That to me is unacceptable.
Blaine's magic is good enough to stand on camera, and to repeated viewings. To me that is remarkable. He is not insecure about his handlings because it is obvious he put the work in. That being said, Blaine is not perfect either. But I respect him a lot more for staying true to the course from a magician's standpoint. He just needs to actually do more shows.
I have to agree with you on this post. Criss is a horrible director. I think if he had another director, who knew what they were doing, then we could accurately see his skills.
And I do agree that Blaine is a great magician. His performance of the effects are very well practiced. He just looses points with me because his presentation of the effects annoy me. It just doesn't entertain me. But I still watch him because even though I know what he is doing, he does make it look like true magic. It's just that his presentation really annoys me. But then again, some of the time, Criss's presentation annoys me also, mainly with his mentalism.
I also agree that there is no comparison between the two. Blaine is a close-up/street magician. Criss is a stage magician. I don't think many people realize that Criss is mainly a stage magician.
But I do agree with pretty much everything you said in this post.