Now You See Me is an original movie. It's original because, to my recollection, the Ocean's 11/12/13 formula has not been applied to a magic themed movie. The formula I speak of works like this, cast a star-studded ensemble: Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Social Network), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right, Iron Man 3), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, The Hunger Games), Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight, Oblivion), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight, Inception), Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, The Great Gatsby), Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies), and Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Beginners). Take that star-studded cast and bring them together for an elaborate bank heist that defies logic and reason. Challenge the audience to try to figure out what is happening throughout the movie. Explain it all in the end. I haven't given any spoilers, because you've seen this movie before. All that said, Now You See Me was entertaining.
What made this magic movie entertaining is a little difficult to explain. Was it a funny magic movie like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? No, although Woody Harrelson's Mentalist character did have a playfully amusing air to him that made his scenes fun. Did Now You See Me have the mystery and suspense of critically acclaimed magic movies like The Prestige or The Illusionist? No, but this magic movie definitely falls in the category of mystery and suspense. Did it have the sex appeal of Magic Mike? Of course not, but what movie does, am I right ladies? What made Now You See Me entertaining is that it's a magic movie! Hollywood doesn't make a lot of movies about magic; it's a relatively untapped genre, so that novelty alone makes Now You See Me an original and entertaining movie.
If you enjoy the works of French Director Louis Leterrier: The Transporter, Unleashed, The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton Hulk), Clash of the Titans, this movie will not disappoint. Now You See Me has the same style special effects and action sequences that are typical of his movies. Some Director’s tend to gravitate towards the same actors/actresses that make their films successful; this doesn't appear to be the case with Louis, as it’s his first time working with all of these stars. Maybe this lack of familiarity with the Director is the reason some of the actors performances felt flat. Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine were all solid as you might expect from the likes of them, but the rest of the cast weren't particularly noteworthy.
The PG-13 rating for this movie is apt. It’s fun for all ages 13 and up. All in all, Now You See Me is worth the time and the price of admission, which is cheaper than a Las Vegas magic show. A Las Vegas magic show is much more spectacular though, so you get what you pay for!
Now You See Me (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B-