I meant to do the second part of my focus on mini-series months ago but as always life got in the way. However the idea did not leave my mind so as before I will give myself an hour to tell you about a new mini-series that recently came out which many of you might not have heard of even though it features Adrien Brody as the man the two part mini-series is named after...
The Houdini mini-series comes from the History channel is a dramatisation based on the life of Houdini the legendary magician/escape artist that mystified audiences and captured the collective conscience of the world.
The mini-series is meant to be part biography and part dramatisation of the life that Harry Houdini (played by Adrien Brody) lived. The result however is more 60% drama and 40% biographical (with me being generous) as tricks are picked apart and made clear to the viewers (not the audience in the film) watching. I came away from the mini-series very entertained but not feeling really like I had learnt anything about the man really.
Based on an analysis of Houdini's character by Bernard C. Meyer and later made into a screen play by Nicholas Meyer the constant flash backs to explain Houdini's reasoning for doing or not doing things felt like someone else's interpretation of things. This shouldn't really surprise me as it is a biography not autobiography which is something that others who have criticised the mini-series appear to have forgotten. Those looking to find out more about Houdini or about anything really would/should know to take anything in the form of a mini-series with a large grain of salt.
To me this was a piece of entertainment meant to draw people into what the History channel has to offer in entertainment and education. Showcasing some of the truth behind a person in history but in a format that is more befitting for audiences today. From my stand point the mini-series fully achieves this and delivers an entertaining interpretation of Houdini's life albeit a bit brief in parts for my liking.
Adrien Brody's performance as the great man ranged from captivating to mind numbingly boring (to the point that I fell asleep in one section and had to re-watch). Overall however his performance as the Great Houdini was...okay. It's hard to play a magician/escape artist and he just didn't hold the level of intensity I'd expect from one all the way through the mini series.
More than the performance I was taken in by the sets, special effects and visual effects which all helped to create the illusion of the world that Houdini lived in.
If you've got a spare two and a bit hours to spare and like period style dramas this is definitely something you should watch. The tricks do actually draw you in even though you know what's meant to happen after being shown much better ones over the years (I'm assuming) but it's very entertaining. If you're looking for truth around Houdini pick up a book you'll find more, here you'll only find bits and pieces as it tries to spark the interest of a new generation in one of the men behind the love of magic that exists today.
That's all I've got time for with this mini-series post. As always I'll try to sum it up...
Okay, okay you won't be pulling that face but it's still worth the watch.
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