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Now You See Me: Extended Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + Digital HD/UltraViolet Review

Now You See Me (2013) movie poster Now You See Me

Theatrical Release: May 31, 2013 / Running Time: 115 Minutes (Extended: 125 Minutes) / Rating: PG-13 (Extended: Not Rated)

Director: Louis Leterrier / Writers: Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (story & screenplay), Ed Solomon (screenplay)

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg (J. Daniel Atlas), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes), Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinney), Isla Fisher (Henley Reeves), Dave Franco (Jack Wilder), Mélanie Laurent (Alma Dray), Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley), Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler), Michael J. Kelly (Agent Fuller), Common (Evans), David Warshofsky (Cowan), José Garcia (Etienne Forcier), Jessica Lindsey (Hermia), Caitriona Balfe (Jasmine Trassler), Conan O'Brien (Himself), Elias Koteas (Lionel Shrike - uncredited)

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With two-thirds of 2013 now history, what have been the biggest surprises at the box office this year? That The Lone Ranger became another period adventure to fall short of high studio expectations? That Iron Man 3 grossed nearly $100 million more than each of its predecessors? To me, a bigger surprise than either of those was the success of Now You See Me.
It opened against a Will Smith sci-fi adventure, just two months after another movie about magicians made less money than imaginable for a wide release starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. It hailed from Summit Entertainment, a studio with hardly any hits aside from Twilight, director Louis Leterrier (last movie: 2010's Clash of the Titans), and three screenwriters who hadn't tasted glory in a while, if ever. Though the cast was full of familiar faces with a number of recent triumphs among them, none were the rare breed guaranteed to draw crowds.

And yet, despite all these factors and middling reviews, Now You See Me crushed Will Smith and won over the general public to the tune of $117 M domestically and another nearly $200 M in foreign markets. Though not quite the smash hit of the summer season nor as inexpensive as you might think (it had a substantial $75 M budget), Now still easily become Summit's biggest non-Twilight earner and by extension, Lionsgate's top grosser behind The Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 9/11.

Pooling their unique magician skill sets into one criminally popular act are Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco).

Now opens by introducing us to four solo street magicians: the egotistical illusionist J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), his theatrical former assistant Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), hypnotic shakedown artist and mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and young small-time pickpocket Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). The four are rounded up with tarot cards that invite them to gather in a nondescript Manhattan apartment, where they are treated to a flashy and enigmatic call to service.

We jump ahead one year and find this foursome, calling themselves The Four Horsemen, a phenomenal Las Vegas attraction performing to giant, enthusiastic crowds. Those in attendance, including stealthily-recording pro magician-debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), do not go home disappointed, as they witness a randomly-chosen audience member apparently be teleported to the vault of his French bank and come away with 3.2 million Euro that is then rained down upon the Las Vegas audience.

When the Paris institution reports being robbed, the FBI immediately assigns Special Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) to the case. He brings the four magicians in for questioning, only to find them as cocky and unrevealing as you'd expect given their profession. Having nothing concrete to charge them with, Rhodes has to let the Horsemen go and follow them to their next scheduled show in New Orleans. This time, he and his team, which includes a French INTERPOL agent (Mélanie Laurent) on her first field assignment, have some cooperation from the convincingly insightful Bradley, although he is reluctant to share his expertise at the expense of his lucrative documentary series.

Special agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) leads the FBI's investigation of magician-thieves The Four Horsemen. Professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) lends authorities only enough help not to cut into his documentaries' profits.

Magic is an inherently cinematic art form, especially now when no illusion seems beyond the reach of a capable visual effects team. However, the subject has so infrequently been explored that Now feels novel by simply putting us among its energetic crowd and treating us to some elaborate and realistic razzle-dazzle.
The film is equally captivating when it takes us behind the curtain to reveal the fanciful yet conceivable realities behind the Horsemen's tricks.

It's escapist fun that proves both exciting and engaging, even as the movie evolves from an Ocean's Eleven-style caper into a more routine cat-and-mouse chase. There are three distinct layers to the story: the charming apparent criminals, the dubious lawmen on their trail, and the third-parties in between like Bradley and the magicians' swindled multi-millionaire producer (fellow Batman confidant Michael Caine).

Curiously, our focus is more on the officers in pursuit than the charismatic con men. As the film sets aside its plotting for fights and a car chase, one fears it's lost its way into routine action hijinks. Nonetheless, it's impossible not to expect some grand twist ending turning the movie into an elaborate magic trick. Your mind will run through the possibilities, dismissing some as outlandish and others as too obvious, all the while remaining suspicious of misdirection. And in the end, the film indeed pulls the rug out from under you with a resolution you may have entertained but which ends up satisfying and not immediately crumbling under scrutiny.

Attributed to the once-accomplished Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Charlie's Angels), the underachieving Boaz Yakin (Prince of Persia, Safe) and novice Edward Ricourt, the screenplay is as smart as it needs to be, steering clear of obvious plot holes while keeping you guessing in a good way. Leterrier's direction is the best it's been to date, utilizing sharp cross-cutting to generate some nice comic energy and getting the film back on track after its questionable middle stretch. The appealing ensemble cast is universally well-suited to their parts. The actors contribute much to the film's enjoyability.

Now You See Me runs a little longer than it needs to, but it still clocks in under two hours as a fulfilling and spirited standalone piece of entertainment. Regrettably, the film's success has robbed it of that well-deserved title. Eager to franchise anything they can, Lionsgate has already announced plans for a sequel to begin filming in 2014. The underperformance of Summit/Lionsgate's summer sequel Red 2, an altogether unneeded star-studded follow-up to a fine original movie, probably gives us a good idea of what to expect from a Now You See Me 2 (or is that Now You Don't?). But the studios are determined to go back to the magician thriller well, with at least director Leterrier returning.

Now You See Me is now available to own on DVD and in a two-disc Extended Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet that puts Summit on board with the prevailing combo pack definition. The extended cut, included alongside the theatrical cut exclusively on Blu-ray, runs nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds longer. The gains are made gradually, with the film picking up thirty seconds here and there, instead of just reinserting one long deleted scene. For example, intercut flight scenes are reordered and there's more of Rhodes clearing the Bourbon Street apartment they get. There's also a scene of Bradley meeting with the Horsemen before their New Orleans show and getting "read" by Merritt and having a Daniel trick tried out on him. As the film is already plenty long and this longer edit isn't even called a director's cut, it may be a fun viewing but I suspect the theatrical version is the superior one.

Now You See Me: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD/UltraViolet combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (English, Descriptive Service),
Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish; BD-only: English for Hearing Impaired
DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled or Captioned
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided discs (BD-50 & DVD-5)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($29.95 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video (Theatrical, Extended)


The Blu-ray's outstanding feature presentation leaves nothing whatsoever to be desired. The 2.40:1 picture is razor-sharp, crystal clear, and full of detail. The 7.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is likewise lively and immersive. The Blu-ray also includes a Dolby Surround track optimized for late night viewing, which seems nice, although I didn't give it a listen, plus a DTS-HD Master Audio sound check feature.

Actress Mélanie Laurent entertains herself with a deck of cards on the set of "Now You See Me." Magic advisor David Kwong discusses Chung Ling Soo and other influential illusionists in "A Brief History of Magic."


The Blu-ray's extras begin with an audio commentary by director Louis Leterrier and producer Bobby Cohen on the film's theatrical cut. They fill the air with spirited talk about revisions made along the way,
Jesse Eisenberg's hair, found locations in New Orleans and New York City, deciding how much to tease the big closing twist, David Copperfield's input, Mardi Gras shooting experiences, and how different cultures process the twist.

On the video side, where everything is presented in HD, things begin with "Now You See Me Revealed" (15:38), a making-of featurette that gathers thoughts from crew and cast, all of whom speak highly about this high concept project. We also get behind-the-scenes looks at the cast learning and performing magic tricks and additional experiences from this clearly fun shoot.

The production's magic advisor David Kwong hosts "A Brief History of Magic" (11:52), which lives up to its name with a celebration of figures who contributed to the craft over the years. Tying this back to the film, Kwong explores the different types of skills embodied by the Four Horsemen.

Elias Koteas, seen in a photograph or two in the movie, appears as Lionel Shrike in this sentimental alternate ending. Michael Caine gets his turn on the Blu-ray's creative main menu.

Thirteen deleted scenes run a staggering 31 minutes and 57 seconds altogether. They show us more of Rhodes at work, more backstage of the Horsemen's planning, add to the history of Daniel and Henley, feature Elias Koteas (only photographed in the film) as the legendary magician whose death motivates the plot,

provide a variation on the big closing twist, follow with an scene set in a more surreal location, and end with a more sentimental closing scene. It's good material, easier to watch than many deleted scenes, probably in part because the film they come from is so entertaining. Regrettably but typically, the extended edition's additions are not viewable here.

The extras wind down with Now You See Me's theatrical teaser (1:51) and trailer (2:26).

Also from Lionsgate" repeats the disc-opening trailers for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Ender's Game, and Red 2.

One of the first Lionsgate releases in a while to include a DVD alongside the Blu-ray, this combo pack holds a movie-only, theatrical cut DVD. It differs from the one sold on its own, which apparently includes the theatrical cut, the commentary, and "Revealed", but not the deleted scenes, extended cut, or "Brief History." The disc here is filled to capacity... but only single-layered capacity.

The Blu-ray's snazzy menu cycles through the cast, displaying a photo and clip of each principal while cards fall. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks and resumes playback as well. The DVD's menu offers a simplified version of that.

Topped by a stylish embossed foil slipcover, to the plainly-labeled discs, the eco-friendly keepcase adds a single-sided insert supplying one unique code unlocking both a downloadable iTunes digital copy and an UltraViolet stream.

Three out of Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, and Woody Harrelson) enjoy the view from New York's Times Square.


Now You See Me is a crowd-pleaser whose ample appeal and entertainment value are easy to appreciate. The twists, turns, and thrills do not demand an excess of disbelief and the well-executed fun overshadows any minor concerns you may have. While a sequel sounds like a recipe for failure, let's hope it does not sully the name of this agreeable original caper.

Sporting a dynamite feature presentation, a good collection of extras, an alternate cut, and all the versatility you could want, Summit's Blu-ray combo pack is easy to recommend.

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Reviewed September 6, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 Summit Entertainment, K/O Paper Products, and Lionsgate.
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