9 September 2014 | atlasmb
A Very Enjoyable Show With Some Great Magic
In round one of "Wizard Wars", a team of two magicians goes head to head in competition with another team. They must perform an act using three common items, say a set a keys, a snow blower and a dog. Before we watch each team perform, we see them backstage, working on their act. The only criticism I have of the show is this backstage peek, which adds little.
Penn and Teller, along with two other judges, critique each act and, eventually, pick a winner.
Then the winning team competes against two of the "home team" wizards in round two, called the Wizard War. In this round, they get four items to work with. Again the judges critique and make a final judgment. If the guest team defeats the wizards, they win $10,000.
If you are familiar with magic, you know there is a code of honor among magicians. And Penn & Teller are highly respected. If this were not so, would the magicians trust their judgment? Why wouldn't the judges always award the win to the home team? In the shows I have watched, the judgments have been reasonable, i.e. their reasons for the decisions have made sense.
But the competition is only a format for the show. As entertainment, it is--excuse the pun--sheer magic. The illusions are topnotch. In one case, Penn & Teller and the entire audience looked amazed and not believing their eyes. Many of the acts rely heavily on humor (like P&T). These are very creative people at the top of their games. If you enjoy magic, you will probably like this show.
Update 9/24/14: The talent on the show has not flagged. Even when we occasionally see "flashes" (clues as to how an illusion works), it only serves to remind us how difficult it is to perform so well with so little practice.