The Illusionist or The Prestige?

The Illusionist or The Prestige?

The Illusionist
11
37%
The Prestige
19
63%
 
Total votes: 30

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Postby dreaMaker » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:54 am

Well, Prestige... Illusioniost has got a very interesting photography, score and nice performances, but The Prestige has got something more... Plus, David Bowie as Nikola Tesla..

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Postby Hollywood Z » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:09 pm

For me, I enjoyed them both. The Prestige played out like two skilled conniving professionals constantly trying to get a one upmanship without either one truly understanding why while The Illusionist was a very impressive minimalist film that had a very enthralling love story. But in the end, I prefered The Illusionist, not so much for the twist ending, but in both the nature of the story that was told as well as the look and design.

The Illusionist's use of color harkened back the early years of silent films and had a wonderful sepia tint to it. Something about the cinematography of that movie just sweeps me up completely, which may explain why I prefer this one to The Prestige, which is more known for having a more a gritty setting. Which was more than likely fitting, given the nature of the story and it's two protagonists (antagonists?), but I think the overall look of The Illusionist wins me over more.

Personally, I felt that Philip Glass should have been up for The Illusionist over Notes on a Scandal because of how well he captured the emotions, setting and themes, which seemed more intricate than NoaS's.
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Postby Sabin » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:55 pm

The Prestige is tricky for the sake of being tricky

I don't buy this. People dismiss Nolan very easily as being style-less but I think at this point his style is incredibly easy to pinpoint although some would say this isn't necessarily a good thing. Nolan is Billy Wilder for the meta-film era. He doesn't believe the best in people and cuts to the chase at the expense of moments. His filmic narratives are meticulously streamlined almost to a fault as with both 'Batman' movies (which is not to say they're bad) in the loss of personable moments. I think a lot of people on this board have a tendency to dismiss it as reckless directing but really it's an act of necessity. His movies are often times dangerously overreaching narratives and in order to bring them in, he has to sacrifice behavioral beauties (a term I heard Damien coin); on the flip side, perhaps never considers them to begin with.


That being said, I think you can only dismiss his movies as point and shoot as much as you can Billy Wilder's. A movie like 'The Prestige' is a powerfully obsessive exercise in revenge and one-up-manship, the death of an era and the birth of another. I think the fact that the twist is fairly easy to spot doesn't make it any less engrossing of an experience. Nolan understands set-up pay-off and with 'The Prestige' he plays to the cheap seats as much as the balcony. I don't think 'The Prestige' can be mentioned in the same breath as 'The Illusionist', save for the fact that I don't think either one of them really deserved their cinematography nominations (although 'The Prestige' commits to a thorough handheld aesthetic that is very interesting) and Philip Glass' score is one for the canon. I think it has a lot of things on its mind and is totally entertaining.

That being said, there is an uncomfortable proximity to Leonard Shelby in 'Memento' that he hasn't really duplicated save for a few moments in 'Insomnia'. He keeps a distance from his characters but I think there's an underrated adherence to unafflected images.
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Postby Kova » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:20 pm

I vote for Nolan & co.

The Prestige is tricky for the sake of being tricky, but at least it has an absorbing edge to it. The Illusionist is handsomely produced (I actually preferred Pope's lensing to Pfister's), but it never transforms into anything more than a dull, predictable love story.

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Postby VanHelsing » Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:32 am

Having watched American Psycho, I disliked Christian Bale. Now, having watched The Prestige, I hate him! Ok, just maybe his character. Hugh Jackman didn't deserve to be at the losing end in the film. I might catch The Illusionist this weekend. But I think I'll like neither of them even though The Prestige has me in the starring role. :p
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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:02 am

Damien wrote:The Prestige is more entertaining, but it serves no real purpose

If you mean there's no overall theme, I'm not so sure about that. I thought it was meant to serve as a metaphor for the disappearence of the Victorian era with modernity taking its place, the disappearence of the ancient aura of the inexplainable replaced by a new sort of magic, the magic of modern inventions (such as the taming and use of electricity) leading us into another realm of the mysterious and inexplainable.
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:10 pm

Cinematography often goes to the "prettiest" looking. There's also a lot of name recognition that goes into selecting nominees at the ASC and then with those members they share with the Academy.
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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:09 pm

I love Wally Pfister's cinematography on 'Memento' and 'Batman Begins' (the latter of which is beautifully shot and abysmally edited), but his work on 'The Prestige' is nothing special. The Art Direction nomination is not well-earned at all. I enjoyed 'The Prestige' quite a bit and it's only grown in my memory. To suggest that it's non-linear structure is pointless I think is a disservice to its central conceit of being Pledge, Turn, and Prestige all wrapped into one. It's a film-as-magic trick and it's completely absorbing, a terrific show. I think the Brothers Nolan do a fantastic job of telling the story just out of order enough with such sleight of hand to feel completely in the now.
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Postby Damien » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:52 pm

I saw The Illusionist in the theatre last fall, and The Prestige on DVD last night. I didn't like either of them, but The Prestige is less bad than The Illusionist, which is unbearably dull. The material laid the groundwork for flamboyant, foreboding, operatic and mysterious visuals and atmosphere, but Neil Burger’s directorial style is as flat as an episode of a 70s TV show. And the narrative itself is just stupid. The movie is lacking in romance and mystery and mood, And the “twist” ending just sort of lies there.

The Prestige is more entertaining, but it serves no real purpose and its non-linear narrative is pointless, other than as Christopher Nolan's cry for help in making the "surprises" less obvious. The characters don't make a whole lot of sense and the narrative is just riddled with holes.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

To cite just one, what about Hugh Jackman's dead body after each night's performance. Michael Caine doesn't come across them?

The film is in the IMDb top 250 so obviously it is resonating with the nerds.

For the life of me I can't understand the Cinematography Oscar nominations when their photography is simply adequate (and in the case of The Illusionist, just barely so). How could working cinematographers vote for these over the gorgeous work on view in Water, The Good Shepherd, Dreamgirls, V for Vendetta, The Painted Veil, The Notorious Bettie Page.

And the Production Design nomination for Prestige? It looks like any other movie set in the late Victorian period and not nearly as impressive as many. This might have been shot on the sets of the remake of The Time Machine. The Black Dahlia, V For Vendetta, The Nativity Story, Infamous are just some of the MUCH more impressive non-nominees that come to mind.
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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:02 am

Finally saw them both on DVD.

Both films are handsomely produced and well acted, but I preferred The Prestige even though I got half the twist early on. Once I figured out the sleight of hand in The Illusionist, there wasn't much to do except wait for the game to be played out.

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Postby Hustler » Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:22 pm

The Illusionist is a conventional film narrated in the old classic way. I enjoyed The Prestige far too much, first of all, the point of view this briliant director has chosen. The film editing is admirable, like the performances. I would propose Michael Caine for suporting and Christian Bale for lead. The film construction was captivating, magic. And finally, the end, which I won´t reveal, was according to my expectations

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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:50 am

I enjoyed both, but the winner is The Illusionist.

I was surprised to find I'm the tenth person to vote in this poll, and that the poll is 50/50. Does anyone else wish to contribute some comments?

There's no question which is the most expensive movie. The Prestige is produced and art directed to the hilt. By far, it's the grander, more elaborate film of the two, but you can't really penalize The Illusionist for not measuring up in that regard. It could only use what it had at its disposal.

Regarding credibility and the twists, both movies are about equally indulgent, asking tremendous leaps of faith from us. I figured out half of The Prestige's twist [color=white]The Christian Bale half.
On the other hand, I thought The Illusionist cheated. (Can't say more.)

The Illusionist's score, composed by Phillip Glass (a VERY hit-or-miss film composer), is superior. Here Glass beautifully captures the Viennese flavor perfectly without sacrificing any of his "minimalist" principles. The Prestige is nothing more than sustained mood, but it does the job.

But The Illusionist gets the edge for being a far better directed film in one very important respect. Neil Burger's compositions, the interiors, the light and shadows do more than capture an era and evoke an atmosphere. When Neil Burger wants to capture the characters' emotions - the love, passion, rage, wonderment and awe - he knows how express it cinematically. And he knows how to capture Edward Norton so that he comes across as mystical, other-worldly and slightly messianic. This despite Norton's performance, which I thought was off.

Christopher Nolan keeps things moving along, he's ambitious, he has narrative moxie, he knows his way around a production budget. It's a good show, it's visually meticulous. But when it comes to conveying obsession or wonderment or anything emotional or visceral, we have to rely on the actors and the screenplay for that. I don't want to say he's on the level of Ron Howard - his storytelling has lots of verve - but it really isn't much more than point-and-shoot.

The more I think about it, the nastier The Prestige seems to me, and not in a fun way. For a while, it's like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, where Bugs and Daffy keep dressing up in disguises and find new ways to injure each other. This would be more entertaining if there were any clarification as to who is the good guy and who is the villian. Not until the very end does it offer a sort-of answer... I guess. But with no appealing protagonist, and no one to root for, we just watch as bemused observers while two vindictive magicians battle each other and wait for it to end. Ultimately, that becomes a pointless endeavor.

I thought Bale and Jackman were cast just right, and it gave Jackman an opportunity to display his showman's elegance that we hear so much about but rarely see outside of the theater. But it IS interesting to see Americans cast as Brits (Johansson, Perabo), and Brits cast as Americans (Serkis, Jackman... okay, okay, Australia used to be a British colony.) Johansson looked more comfortable than she has in a while. I much preferred her to Piper Perabo and her trembling lip. And you're right, Sabin, she's a beaut. She's not even my type, and I can't get over how stunning she is. But she's still very young looking, and directors are now casting her in roles that's not quite right for her.

I was shocked to see how old Roger Rees has become. And David Bowie is suddenly turning into Tom Skerrit.

And The Illusionist had better previews before the show. The Illusionist wins! :p[/color]
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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:07 pm

I have to give the tip of the hat to The Prestige, though it's close. Both of them I picked up the twist early on. However, performance and directing wise, Prestige tops the two easily. The Illusionist had too many conventional moments and the dizzy camerawork was annoying.

I have to say this. If this were a fair world, we'd be able to say in January:

Oscar nominee David Bowie.
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Postby Penelope » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:50 pm

The Illusionist is a mediocre, stolidly directed effort, but it's a tight little game, bolstered by a fine cast and a twist that I honestly didn't see coming.

While The Prestige has some interesting ideas floating around, it's a dull, confusing mess for the first hour, then a dull, obvious mess for the second hour, with a twist that is no surprise at all, all of it hampered by Nolan's crappy, sloppy direction.

The Illusionist wins this one.
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Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:01 am

'The Prestige' is the most sleight-of-hand movie of the year, really a stylish con job of a film that entertained me throughout. It's a bitchy, behind-the-scenes dick measuring contest that may have as well starred Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

There's no real need to dig any deeper into the film, but I'd like to make mention what stood out in my mind:

1) The Casting - how Jackman wound up with Bale's part and vice versa is absolutely beyond me. Did nobody on the staff ever look to the other and say, "How about Bale plays the part of the obsessed widower who loses his soul in the process of topping his nemesis and Jackman plays the callow, priggish showman who shows no interest in ####ing his wife or Scarlett Johansson!" Amazing. Had the parts been reversed, we might not have been talking Oscar, but my God would it have come much closer to have actually resembling the great film it could have been. I repeat: a movie about rival magicians sounds AMAZING! Let's get the casting right!

2) The Cleavage - Scarlett Johansson shows up so late in the movie I did a double-take. Barely deigned a proper introduction, Johansson's role of "Magician's Assistant" is paper thin and she can't do much with the role...but her ample breasts can. Lindsday Lohan may have received more attention for going from 'The Parent Trap' to wondering both when she got pregnant and how full her breasts can appear to be with milk without exploding on the screen, but Scarlett Johansson remains one of the true sex symbols of our time. Her breats in this movie are unreal. Un-####ing-real. I can only hope one day she finds a decent movie role, because if her biggest challenge in years has been convincing herself that Josh Hartnett is a worthy partner, her talents lay whithered on the vine. With her amazing, amazing breasts. (I'm lonely!)


'The Prestige' really is all prestige. It's all about the showmanship, the way it appears to stay nimble on its toes even while lagging on for too long. As it turns out, Nolan is the king of the twist in Hollywood. He knows how to tell a story just out of continuity enough to make it seem streamlined and polished, and how to clue you in on the revelation just beforehand enough to make you feel smart rather than beating you about the head with revelation at the end. It's a well-crafted piece of entertainment.
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