Things that are excellent about Magicians
David Mitchell and Robert Webb, obviously. It was nice seeing them both play characters I actually wholeheartedly liked, rather than the more Stockholm version of compelled attraction, like in Peep Show
. This goes double for Robert, since my default with David is to love unreservedly anyway. Yes, Karl was flawed, but he was also, on the whole, a good person. I enjoyed seeing Robert play a good person.
Jessica Hynes. I love her, I love her, I love her. A lot of women are underappreciated in comedy, but she ESPECIALLY is. (Also, she is hot
. Y'know, just sayin'.)
The 'entering the shield' telephone conversation. I just love that
Harry set it up like an automated system. There should have been more humour like that.
The use of music.
MAGIC. I am such a fan of magic. Also, ventriloquism. I am basically the biggest dork ever. I not only like things that are 'not cool', I actually think they're really fucking cool.
"This is sick. This is so sick. It might actually make the papers." Peter Capaldi is awesome.
I was genuinely tense for the final guillotine scene. Properly and genuinely freaking out. And I gave a mini-scream when the head went in the bucket.
"I just wanted to say I don't actually love you. Not yet..." = HAHAHAHAHA!
The payoff of the dance making it into the act? That was fabulous.
Things that are not excellent about Magicians
To me, it would have been much cooler if Harry and Karl had been forced to work together the whole time. I really liked
that aspect, until it was cruelled snatched away. This, of course, falls into the realm of personal kinks, but it's ever so slightly less cliché, I think, to have kept them together as opposed to capitalise on rivalry. The resolution would have been completely different, of course. It would have been a different story. But I would have liked it more.
The crude humour wasn't funny. There wasn't quite enough of it to make it a stylistic device, and
it wasn't funny.
There wasn't enough drama between Harry and Karl. On the one hand, I appreciated that, because it wasn't exactly following convention, but on the other, it probably would have made the story tighter, tenser, and, well, better
, to follow convention.
It wasn't that it was bad, it's just that it could have been REALLY, REALLY GOOD. It never quite got the balance between pure satire and straight comedy right. I understand that Andrew O'Connor is a magician himself, so he didn't want it to feel like it was operating on a "haha, magicians are losers" angle, but there was some
satire going on, especially with Otto, so, yes... it was a bit too much of a mishmash. It comes down to the theme, I think. Or lackthereof. There wasn't really an obvious theme that the film was aiming towards, there were about seven, and that made it a bit of a confused mess.
But I actually really liked it, despite all of these things. It entertained me. I found there was more to like than dislike, and, as I said in the beginning, it was a relief to have David Mitchell and Robert Webb on my screen together without me feeling the clutching horror of "oh God, I really, really hate this, but it's horrifically good
." Nothing horrific about it, just nothing overwhelmingly exceptional either.