Criss Angel - Mindfreak - The Complete Season Two
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ALL 21 EPISODES OF SEASON 2
Though audiences seem polarized by illusionist Criss Angel, there's no denying that his feats possess the right amount of danger, theatricality, and sheer "wow" factor to keep magic fans gasping at every new trick; the raven-tressed Angel offers a slew of new stunts in this three-disc set, which compiles the entire second season of his television reality series MindFreak. Though "impressive" is often in the eye of the beholder, it's hard to argue that Angel's roster of illusions and stunts in this season are particularly impressive: He walks on water across a pool in Las Vegas, gets dragged behind a speeding boat (while laced into a straitjacket), attempts to escape a shark cage, makes an elephant vanish, and in the season's most eye-popping moments, saws not only himself in half, but a bystander on a city park bench. Lighter moments, like Angel clowning with animals in a zoo, are interspersed with the big tricks, as are moments where Angel reveals hoaxes like psychic surgery and performs slight-of-hand at various Vegas clubs during a night on the town. Celeb guests like Ice Cube, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath, and Motley Crue's Vince Neil also turn up to be amazed by Angel's skills (all are featured in a mind-reading bit in "Celebrity Minds"). Extras-wise, Angel contributes commentary on the "Building a Float" and "In Two" episodes, in which he discusses the preparation required for these stunts, as well as the challenges they present. Several featurettes are also included: "Teach a Trick" offers the viewer instructions on how to perform several of Angel's smaller bits, while "Interviews" has Angel in conversation with fellow magicians/debunkers Penn and Teller and other performers as they discuss their particular trade. A series of practical jokes Angel carries out on tourists in Las Vegas are amusing, while "Special Gift" and "Criss Uncensored" offer glimpses behind the scenes on his career and life. For sheer showmanship, it's hard to be beat Angel's second season of sleight-of-hand. -- Paul Gaita
- 21 episodes on three discs
- Commentary by Criss Angel on two episodes: Building Float and In Two
- Featurettes: Teach a Trick, Interviews, Practical Jokes, Criss Angel Special Gifts, Criss Uncensored
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I did not really pay much attention to him until I saw that live show.
But these tv shows were a bit of a let down for me only because instead of featuring the same top notch level of illusions seen in his real act..... the tv shows mostly feature fake illusions that use video editing and fake audiences who are part of his team.
True the live show of course would use camera tricks and plants in the audience too to some degree..... but the th show does not really show the true magic skills of Chriss.
The tv show is more of the magic of video and editing than the stage magic skill and technique of Chriss Angel
I have never seen Criss' demonstrations live, and I am a bit of a skeptic, so I could sit here and freeze individual frames in the show, trying to figure out how he does what he does. Is it real? Is it an illusion? Is it fancy camera editing? Please . . .
I hope one day to see him do his thing in front of my - hopefully, unbelieving, mindfreaked - eyes. I'm not here to pick his demonstrations apart. While I do have a sense of wonderment about how he does things, I'm not about figuring him out, either. What I am after is to be entertained, and he has done that - albeit in a slightly different way - for Season 2.
The mesmerizing demonstrations are still there, although it appears that Criss has scaled back a little bit (and I emphasize little) on dancing with the devil by not performing as many death-wish stunts as he did in Season 1. What I think is a little different here is that I dare to think that we are seeing more than Criss Angel - we are seeing Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. I think we are starting to see the Person behind the Illusionist.
What I mean here is that, not only have I managed to become mindfreaked with Season 2, but I been tickled with the laughing fits. The humor in Season 1 was only hinted at (as in the episode, Chicken. Try that one on for a little light-heartedness - it's one of my favorite episodes from Season 1). Some of the extras on the disc provide this humor, as do the episodes themselves. We are introduced to Crissy, one butt-ugly chick, to provide some comic relief and some nightmares as well. This dressing-up-to-look-ridiculous-and- be-as-obnoxious-as-I-can trend continues with Season 3 when we are introduced to other lovable characters in the Angel archives, but that's another review altogether.
What makes this man stand out to me is what I see behind the magic. I one episode, entitled Chad's Story, Criss makes a young magician's dream come true by coaching him and giving him a chance to perform with Lance Burton. Chad's story is truly tragic, as he had cancer when he was a very young child, and even died on a few occasions. His father taught him magic to keep his mind off the pain of his illness. Chad overcame his illness and was considered cured, only to lose his father to cancer shortly thereafter. Those who know anything about Criss Angel, aka Christopher Sarantakos, knows that he had lost his father to stomach cancer years ago. He took care of his father when he couldn't take care of himself, or even eat any kind of food. His father died in his arms, and something in Criss changed after that. He claims it made him fearless and gave him the inspiration to do what he does.
You know, Criss Angel is a new guy for me. I just discovered him months ago. I have had favorite celebrities over the years. I don't put them on a pedestal, and I'm not attracted to the kinds who do give off the "diva" act. If I became famous for one of my talents, would that mean I was less of a human? Would my personable qualities go away? I don't think so. Fame changes people, but life does, too.
Don't judge a book by its cover. People are multi-layered. Sometimes what you see isn't everything you're going to get, but just a fraction of it. Granted, if Criss had come out in his full Goth-garb like he was sporting pre-Mindfreak days, I might have run for the hills. I'm glad I found him when I did. He's a little less Goth these days and more rock-n-roller, but people will still form their opinions.
Chad's Story was proof there is more than one side. In that episode, what he said to Chad is what you have cannot be sold and cannot be bought. He was talking about personality. When people want to know what makes Criss freak my mind so much, I don't just point to the demonstrations. I point to how kids are magnetically drawn to him. I point to how he handles animals and how they seem to love him. I point to how he hugs his mom or how close he is to his brothers. I point to how he interacts with people and seems to charm them and make them feel at ease. I point to an almost childlike enthusiasm (Check out Bike Jump Vanish. He's like a kid on that bike). Criss is crazy, but he's not creepy. He's got a sick sense of humor at times, but it's funny. He's not only talented, but terribly intelligent. His mind is always clicking. He's a light and an inspiration. There's something warm and personal about him. Maybe I'm wrong and he's mindfreaked us all by inserting subliminal messages throughout the episodes. Maybe we've all been hypnotized into submission. I suppose it's possible, but I don't think so.
Season 2, like Season 1 and Season 3, is one big roller-coaster ride - all good fun. Now, I think I'm going to go out and confront my fears.
ARE YOU READY????
The show is mindboggling, but at the same time down to earth, in spite of it's subject matter, and Criss Angel just has one of the those "larger than life" personality types that just draws you into being interested in his world, whether or not you've ever been into reality or magic shows, either one. Not to mention the fact that if you happen to be female (or otherwise inclined, I suppose) he's a hard man to take your eyes off of, no magic required!
In my opinion, this DVD does an excellent job of showcasing Criss as the Best Magician in the world right now, even though judging from all the talk on the Web at this time, there seems to be a fair amount of opposition out there on that claim. Why all the jealousy and sceptism exists at this time towards Criss and his talents, I don't know. But if anyone out there is looking at this DVD with a sceptical eye, or towards debunking Criss Angel's talents, let's consider for a moment what performing magic and/or being an illusionist is really all about. It's about putting on a show, and keeping your audience entertained, and Criss Angel puts on a flawless show, that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. It doesn't matter how he does it, the point is that he does it so well.
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You'll see illusions in this show not done by others before him.Read more