Well Big Blind Media strikes again. I wonder if this is one of their early productions because the
camera work and lighting is no where near the quality I've come to expect from a BBM production. So
let's examine a few points there for a moment; then we'll move on to the meat of the review . . .
the effect. During the performance, the camera work is a bit dizzying, and the sound is pretty weak.
The explanation has better sound, but weird lighting . . . either they were going for a strange
effect or the lighting guy didn't do his job right. The lighting was very dark with really bad
shadows. It felt like an old home video. However, the description and the clarity of the effect,
etc. were definitely there.
As usual, Owen Packard was witty and funny as he "played" with
the star of the show, Peter Harrison. However, there were a few moments when it felt like Peter
wasn't "in the mood to play." I could've been reading that wrong, but that's how it appeared.
Other than those things listed above, this is a pretty solid product. As a nice breath of fresh
air, the menu was simple and easy to navigate . . . something a lot of DVD releases could learn
So, Jeff, what about the effect? Is it any good?
Well as a matter of fact it
is. It's very good. Let me tell you what I didn't like first; then I'll tell you what I did like
about the effect:
The set up is relatively elaborate, and isn't the most practical thing
for strolling because you destroy 4 or 5 cards per performance. The clever part about the effect is
also potentially one of the weaknesses. Part of the set up for the effect is that you have to do
another effect first. Then 1 or 2 more, then you can this effect. The beauty of that is that the
first effect you do let's you know what you need to know to set up the final effect (Connected, and
you'll know if the final effect is going to be possible. If it's not, it's no big deal because you
can just stop at the first trick or go on to something else.
However, if, during the first
trick, you discover that it will be possible to do Connected then you're set up for a miracle about
5 or 10 minutes later. For a set show, this is perfect. For strolling in a party, restaurant, etc,
there are some problems.
First, unless you can guarantee that you'll be at the table for
more than 2 or 3 tricks, you can't really do this. For those who stroll, you know that this is a
real concern. You may actually end up "doing the dirty work" for the trick and never be able to
reveal it. Your unsuspecting spectator will go home with a surprise souvenir.
being said, the effect is a miracle. It seems impossible, and the setup and psychology of the effect
is brilliant. It really does leave the audience "knowing" that you never touched their wallet, yet
somehow a card that they just tore up ended up in their wallet restored sans one corner . . .
speakin' of the corner, the corner swi*** employed is very clever. It's very low tech, but very
simple and very deceptive. The vanish of the pieces that he uses is not one I'm a fan of, and the 2
alternate methods were not done very well. He kind of stumbled through them and never really showed
an actual performance of it, but rather only a half-baked explanation. However, if you like the
effect, you'll come up with your own vanish.
I would probably put a paper clip on the loose
pieces that I vanish making it easier to handle them and vanish them. I would then have the paper
clip reappear on the restored card in the spectator's wallet. Yeah I know . . . brilliant. You'll
thank me later . . . trust me.
Finally, the presentational premise is quite clever. It
lends itself well for a closing effect. It also gives some logic to why the card is being torn up.
All in all, the effect is very clever, very well thought out and definitely worth your
consideration. Even if you're a strolling guy/gal, you'll still want to consider it because you
don't have to do it at every table.
Now the price . . . $30 bucks for one trick with
now props. Yet Bullets After Dark the John Bannon two disk set from the same company (BBM) is only
$35 bucks, and it over a dozen effects and a bunch of great interview clips with Bannon. So
where's the justification on the price for Connected?
It's a little steep in my opinion. If
you factor in the price, all of the quirks of the production value and some of the minor
impracticalities, we lose about a point and a half giving this overall a 3.5/5. If I were to just
rate the effect itself, it would be a 4.5 or better, but I'm all about a FULL review folks, so the
final verdict is . . . gem with a 3.5 rating.