Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Paradox of the Stage Magician

Magicians protect their secrets not because the secrets are large and
important, but because they are so small and trivial. The wonderful effects created on
stage are often the result of a secret so absurd that the magician would be
embarrassed to admit that that was how it was done.

-Alfred Borden, in The Prestige

I'm not the sort of person that minds knowing the ending of a story before I even watch it. I like knowing what's going to happen. I feel that, this way, I'm able to see many more nuances of the story while I watch it through the first time, and this, for me, is a wholesome and enriching way of enjoying the story, be it a book or a movie.

I watched The Prestige about 2 weeks ago, and I entered the cinema without any expectations whatsoever, namely because I did not know what the story is about.
I left the cinema with a sense of awe, I thought it was a great movie, so great that I decided to go buy the book.

I finished the book yesterday, and I must say that The Prestige is one story that you absolutely must NOT know the ending, as it would spoil the show altogether.

Even though the movie was based on the book, the producers of the movie has taken many liberties to change the storyline so much that its a whole different story altogether, only keeping the main 'secret' intact. Major events happened differently, and even the ending is different. However, having watched the movie and thus knowing the 'secret' already, I have to say that the whole experience of reading the book has been spoiled for me.

Thus, I need someone who has not yet watched the movie to read the book and tell me what they think of it. However, in doing so, their experience of the movie, if they so choose to watch it later, will then be spoiled. And that would be a waste indeed.


youngyew said...

Eih, how come you said you enjoyed knowing what's going to happen, but urge others not to know the ending beforehand for this Prestige?

crushedguava said...

That's because the whole effect, or the 'prestige' of The Prestige, be it the book or the movie depends on the one secret. If you know that secret already, the whole show is spoiled, just like a magic trick, if you know how it is done, the effect is spoiled (of course you can feel good knowing that you knew it before hand).

So even though I like and enjoy knowing what's going to happen, The Prestige is the one story that goes against this trend. I thought I made this clear ah? No meh?