Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

To adequately describe the bizarreness of Las Vegas magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Ludwighorn would take volumes, so perhaps an IMAX 3-D film really is the way to go — pictures being worth a thousand words and all. Naturally, this fully-authorized film, part documentary and part sheer spectacle, in no way aims to make them look like oddballs...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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To adequately describe the bizarreness of Las Vegas magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Ludwighorn would take volumes, so perhaps an IMAX 3-D film really is the way to go — pictures being worth a thousand words and all. Naturally, this

fully-authorized film, part documentary and part sheer spectacle, in no way aims to make them look like oddballs or emphasize the creepily totalitarian pageantry of their stage show, which combines illusions, showgirls, monumental mechanical effects and, of course, those world-famous white lions

and tigers. But it's there nonetheless. The movie's conceit is to examine their lives and accomplishments through a magic box whose inner workings seem to symbolize the unfathomable mysteries of the universe, represented onscreen by a series of computer animated cogs and gears through which the

camera glides. As children and young men, Siegfried and Roy (now 60 and 55, respectively) are played by actors against conspicuously artificial backgrounds, as though we were watching an elaborate, animated pop-up book. The artifice also serves to remind us (perhaps inadvertently) that this is a

scrupulously selective history. No one expects it to be a tabloid investigation, but to allude to the fact that Siegfried and Roy's fathers were ruined by their wartime military experiences without mentioning the word "Nazi" isn't entirely candid. There's also a lot of talk, much of it delivered

in hammy tones by narrator Anthony Hopkins, about transcendence and spirituality. While the performers may indeed be sincerely spiritual people, it's hard to take them seriously when they're floating around an IMAX screen in a lotus position, or doing that theatrical arm-waving thing in

front of a snarling tiger in a box. The film is simultaneously vulgar, disingenuous and mind-bogglingly kitsch; and that may well be the essence of Siegfried and Roy.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: To adequately describe the bizarreness of Las Vegas magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Ludwighorn would take volumes, so perhaps an IMAX 3-D film really is the way to go — pictures being worth a thousand words and all. Naturally, this fully-… (more)

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