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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » Derren Brown Channel 4, 22:10 2night (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Partizan
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Just thought I'd remind our UK viewers of the fact.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
Partizan
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Nice. the guy in the phone box was a killer.
Very cool finger guessing game, that was very strong.
The Taxi dude was so funny, I was rofl at hes confusion.
The chess was cool, those uptight boffins didn't know what hit 'em.

Nice one Derren.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
MagicSquare
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As I am writing this, Derren is explaining how to play multiple simultaneous games of chess in such a way as to ensure a draw overall --- with an additional, unexplained, flourish.

The method Derren gives is as discussed in Corinda.

Does anyone want to "bite" about whether they think this counts as an exposure? I know this can always be a contentious issue, but I am very curious as to where people draw their lines on this subject.

(Incidentally, he actually plays against 9 opponents, and claims that one of the games is therefore fully legit).
Ken
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Why did he feel the need to give away something that was not his to give away?

I always loved the chess routine in Corinda.

Ken
brownbomber
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Derren is always good value and I enjoyed the program, but I didn't feel it was up to the high level set by the Mind Control series. I found the umbrella and the 60s Avengers style cheesy and inappropriate for a cutting-edge psychological illusionist like DB. Much of the material seemed strangely low-key and even more obviously staged than usual.

I found the chess effect was disappointing, a mere rehash of Corinda with a small twist at the end as a minor distraction.

The best moment for me was yet another fun performance of the fantastic 'Smoke' effect with Stephen Fry.

Just my opinion...

BB Smile
Mark Roberts
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Hmmmm...not sure on this one.

I did enjoy the show but I agree with BB, it wasn't up to the level of the Mind Control series.

I enjoyed the chess routine but felt let down by the exposure of the Corinda method even though he added the prediction twist at the end.

Following the preview it appears that next weeks show holds more promise. Let's hope so, Derren is a good performer and it would be a shame if this series bombs.
MagicSquare
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BB,

Regarding the new "style", I had been forewarned by some comments from the production team on the latest issue of http://magicweek.co.uk/

(just scroll down on the main page till you hit the DB pic)

Here is a snippet
[
Derren’s style has changed significantly since the last series. The next series comes with a new look, an ultra cool title sequence and a remix of the original title music, all very much influenced by the culture of the 1960s - the era of 'The Avengers', 'The Prisoner', the first James Bond films, split screens, bright colours and easy-listening music.

Derren looks more elegant. He has exchanged the black 'magician' suit he used to wear in previous programmes for a variety of sharp looking suits in a sophisticated colour palette, sometimes supplemented by quirky accessories like a John Steed type umbrella for example. It's all very retro, has a slick 60s feel in style / graphic / title sequence. Also there's an emphasis on filming in London, using some very iconic London landmarks as a backdrop. Each episode will comprise four or five effects and will be a visual feast of stylization, slick graphics and mesmerising montages.
]

There are also capsule summaries of the future episodes, if you are interested.

(Personally, I rather liked the umbrella --- but *only* because the title shot it which it is used reminds me very strongly of a similar scene in the brilliant Peter Sellers movie "Being There". No idea whether this was deliberate on their part, but the symmetrical framing of the two shots was conspicuously similar.)
brownbomber
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"Each episode will comprise four or five effects and will be a visual feast of stylization, slick graphics and mesmerising montages."

Interesting - it sounds to me like our Derren's been hijacked by the TV producers and designers. Style over substance? I do however agree that sartorially he looks better (does he have more hair than last time?! ;-) ), though the umbrella to me -and the friends I watched it with- we thought a bit naff.

Next week's preview looked excellent.

Would love to hear others' thoughts.

BB. Smile
promethee
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What were the effects shown in this first show ?
La fleur de l'illusion produit le fruit de la realite.
matthu
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Regarding the chess "exposure" - I think the method has already been described in a book by Sidney Sheldon and possibly also a short story by Jeffery Archer? So most regular chess players would probably have been pretty familiar with that.

What I found small issue with was the 9th chess player who was known beforehand to be not as strong a player as the other eight, and gave him just enough edge to finish the challenge 4-3 up (with 2 draws). Does this 9th player count almost as a "stooge"?
Harry H
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Exposure? Not really is it? Are the muggles really going to remember the explanation-he did say it all rather fast.I doubt anyone in TV land could re-produce the effect.Bit dissapointed with ep.1,seemed over too quick,and I agree with previous post a couple of effects seemed too staged.He's still way cool though.
MagicSquare
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Promethee,

He did...

* Man collapses when answering a public phone box.
* Cab driver appears to forget location of prominent landmark (the "London Eye").
* DB's famous "Smoke" illusion performed to a very impressed Steven Fry (DB gets it on the first attempt -- so he got a bit of luck there!).
* An on-the-street effect where one member of the public appears to learn, from Derren, how to read a random name being thought of by another member of the public.
* An on-the-street "how many fingers am I holding up" divination.
* Simultaneous chess with 9 strong players (including some Grand Masters). He wins 4 games, loses 3, draws 2 --- and appears to predict how many of the opponents' pieces would be left standing at the end of each of the games... with one "off by one" error in that part.
JamesCheung
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The production values have obvious gone up judging from the monkeying around that has been done on the visual style. Not anywhere near as strong as the previous series. However, the two standout effects were the spectator mindreading and the guess the number of fingers effects. All the rest were overly staged and suffered because of it.

Even so, Derren is still a master showman. The Chess effect was excellent to watch even though the method is quite widely known but I am amazed that none of the GMs twigged it.
MagicSquare
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Regarding the chess bit,

The core of the effect is discussed in Corinda as being of uncertain origin. However, he does mention some prior work on it by Martin Gardiner (the math puzzler and, I believe, amateur magician).

I'm wondering whether these origins make this "trick" public-domain, rather than part of the magical canon?

Then, of course, he tops the basic effect with an *unexplained* component.
Babymagician
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What was exactly the "how many fingers am I holding up" effect?
Drewmcadam
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Me? I liked it. However, there seems to be an (understandable) shift towards the admission that conjuring is being used, as opposed to pure psychology and suggestion. By the way, I'll be reviewing Derren Brown for the "Edinburgh Evening News" when he does the Scottish shows next month, and I'll flag up a copy of my copy... if that makes sense.

Incidentally, the last time he appeared in Scotland, at the Adam Smith Theatre, I wanted to give Derren a full page interview / preview. In an attempt to secure the interview I called his PR representative who informed me that he “didn’t work on weekends”! Like I care. As a result, I gave the whole thing over to Christie Moore, along with the five star review that was rightfully Derren’s.

It would appear that those who should be looking after Derren (with the exception of Michael Vine, I must say) have their own interests, rather than Derren’s at heart... And that’s a shame. Rule One: NEVER p**s off a journalist!

Let’s see how the interview and the review go this time, shall we? Unless, like his PR agent, I decide I don't work at weekends, of course.

http://www.drewmcadam.co.uk
shrink
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I have to admit I only saw the last part and was busy doing stuff at the time. I think it is difficult to keep something going and keep the freshness of it continuous.

However I do feel the designer treatment has taken the edge away from the effects. In my opinion maximum impact is created by a surreal happening in a normal environment. When the environment becomes as or if not more surreal than the happening... then the contrast is lost. The impact dissolves into the sensory overload. As mentalists we work hard to avoid looking like we use props, to look as if we can create extraordinary events out of normal environments.

This is just the first in the series lets see how it developes. I have to admit I don't like the 60s Idea its like hes working to hard to me less is more.
MagicSquare
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Babymagician,

The "fingers" bit involved a member of the public holding up any number of fingers (0 to 10), and Derren guessing how many. DB and the subject stand face to face.

Initially, the subject was instructed to put her hands behind her back. However, to avoid suspicion of some kind of signalling (ha!), DB then asks her to do it again ---- with her hands in her pockets! He gets it right... 3 more times.

Finally, Derren holds up some fingers behind his back, and the subject proceeds to get *that* right.

(This is all done in a little crowd on the street).
Mark Roberts
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Quote:
On 2004-04-23 19:18, shrink wrote:

However I do feel the designer treatment has taken the edge away from the effects. In my opinion maximum impact is created by a surreal happening in a normal environment. When the environment becomes as or if not more surreal than the happening... then the contrast is lost. The impact dissolves into the sensory overload.


I think you've hit the nail on the head here Shrink.

I think that the production values and new style took away from the effects. Some of the ideas were good, the London Cabbie being one. However, it didn't seem to have the same impact as the London Underground routine and it really should have. I think as you have rightly said, the reason lies in the way this was edited and put together.

I'm hoping that this series picks up and as I've said before, next weeks show holds more promise.

I hope so. I really like Derren as a performer but I hope that the new format doesn't halter his success.

Just as a quick aside and to raise a point brought up earlier, Derren is now admitting that he his using tricks. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but Derren has built up a league of fans who believed that what he was doing really was based upon psychological techniques. How are they going to react now that they know that he is just a magician and has been fooling them for the last few years?
JamesCheung
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The taxi driver stunt was nicely staged, although it was obviously edited to maximise the seeming 'confusion' of the taxi driver. Incidentally, it really isn't that difficult to do. I myself have done this inadvertently on a number of occasions when I have chatted and engaged a driver in conversation to the point where I ended up lost somewhere around Old Street for what seemed like hours. Come to think of it, this is not going to be good for cabbies as somehow I think that over the coming days they are all going to have the glass of their dividing screens smacked and be engaged in silly conversation with members of the public who will try and replicate the stunt.
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