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The Secret Art Of Monkey Business Vol. 2 by Matthew Johnson - DVD
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Matthew Johnson is back in this highly anticipated sequel to his best selling DVD "The Secret Art of Monkey Business." Get ready for even more commercial & creative close-up magic that is always ready to go!
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A little annoying, but good nonetheless Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 2nd, 2010
(This review is for The Secret Art Of Monkey Business Vol. 2 by Matthew Johnson - DVD)
Before I get to the effects, can I just get this off my chest: Mr. Johnson, please work with your DVD editor/masters to make a better menu system. At the end of each effect, the DVD goes back to the menu.2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
If that's not annoying enough, the menu doesn't advance the cursor to the next effect; it stays on the first effect on the list, so you have to use the arrow keys to move down from the top trick and select the next trick between each effect.
This means that you have to mentally keep track of the name of the last trick you just watched or else you won't know which effect you're "suppose to watch" next. Additionally, when pressing the "stop" button, the DVD starts over, whereas every other DVD on the planet will start where you left off when you push "play" again.
The worst part is that on Explanation section, after each effect, it goes to the main menu, so you have to navigate and click on explanation, then navigate and click on the next effect that you are going to watch.
If you've made it this far then you just may have the patience needed to watch this DVD. There are only 9 effects, so I'll take the time to give you my opinion on each:
Mayo & Pickles: A standard style sandwich effect using gimmicks that you probably have laying around. However, similar effects can be accomplished without gimmicks. I don't think you gain enough impact by using this version. 1 Star.
Wish Upon a Star: My Favorite effect on this DVD. This is a modification of Nick Trost's Oscar Deck with a very clever and visual climax. Although I didn't feel Mr. Johnson tapped into it, there is huge presentational potential. 5 Stars.
Psychic Vacation 2: Johnson kept referring to this effect as a breath of fresh air. Oddly enough, I found myself struggling to breath a little when watching the performance and the explanation. It's very long and tedious. However, the concept is pretty novel and has huge presentational potential. This is a modification of Martin Gardners 3x3 Matrix (aka the television card trick where the viewers point to a card and move their fingers around to eliminate cards). The presentational possibilities are endless. The DVD comes with all the props you need to print out, etc.
I do feel that parts of the presentation are a bit dry and contrived. But with a little bit of creativity, you've got a really fun presentation. Also, he did not cover a particular scenario that is likely to happen in the performance, and the instructions were very difficult to follow. It would have been much better to have use a close up shot when explaining some of the more complicated parts of the directions. 3 Stars
Extracting Erdnase: This is basically a handling of The Extractor Deck by Rob Bromley and Peter Nardi. He basically says "Buy an Extractor Deck and do an Erdnase (should be called "Houdini") change. So unless you own an Extractor Deck (which he doesn't explain its workings), this is another one that, in my opinion should have been left out. I'm not entirely opposed to explaining an effect on a DVD that requires you to purchase another product. However, when you have only 9 effects on a DVD, you're not getting a whole lot of stuff as it is. If the disk had 20 effects, then maybe this would be ok. 1 Star.
Invisible: This is basically a Brainwave effect with non gimmicked cards. It's nothing revolutionary, and requires you to put the deck away (or do a switch) before you can continue on with another effect. In my opinion, it's another one that isn't worth dedicating an entire deck to. I will say that Mr. Johnson's cleverness comes through on this effect. He applied a standard method for a different effect. Nice thinking. 2 Stars.
Wired: This is a fun little quickie that I'm not entirely sure is practical, but he claims that he's used this many, many times in strolling situations with no problem. I'll take his word for it, but it's a little "iffy." 2.5 Stars.
Voodoo: A clever way to do a blister-on-any-finger effect. The props required to do this are include as downloads on the DVD. 3.5 Stars.
Stabbed in the Pack & Tattoo for 2: This is a pretty decent and novel effect. The handling taught requires that the deck is sort of dedicated to this effect. However, a little bit of thinking on your part and you'll come up with ways to do it without dedicating a deck. The DVD comes with the needed cards for the effect. 3.5 Stars.
Invisible deck ideas: This is just a cool idea that Johnson stumbled on that can be applied to an invisible deck adding quite a bit to the impact of the Invisible Deck. 3.5 Stars.
You get 9 effects (8 effects and 1 idea).
Two of these effects are re-releases of marketed effects by Mr. Johnson. One effect requires you to purchase a $100 product (Extractor), and most of the effects require that you dedicate an entire pack to one trick - a trick that isn't that amazing.
However, There are a couple of decent effects, and even the tricks that weren't so hot had some cleverness behind them. The tricks themselves weren't horrible, but they aren't as practical as Johnson is claiming, in my opinion.
Considering that there are a bunch of extras (downloads) on the DVD and it comes with 2 specially printed cards, and there are a lot of clever little bits and pieces here for a total of $35.00 it's probably worth the risk for you to try it out yourself. Gem.
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