Movie NewsDevin FaraciComment Angel is one of those magicians I shouldn’t like. First of all, he’s got this hairdo and personal style that looks like he just came from a Motley Crue concert in 1995. Second of all, he’s one of those glitzy magicians, who’s all about image. As much of a dipshit as David Blaine is, I like the way he is so unassuming when blowing people’s minds on the street with card tricks. Also, Criss Angel’s show has the lame, lame title of Mindfreak. But despite all that, I find Criss Angel endearing, and some of his illusions actually interesting.

That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to the guy making an actual motion picture… especially one based on a comic strip nobody cares about. The strip in question is Mandrake the Magician, about a stage magician who use his powers of hypnosis and illusion to fight crime and aliens and stuff. He’s surrounded by a cast of multi-ethnic character who take a disturbingly subservient role to him, inlucing Lothar, who gave up the chance to be a king in Africa to be Mandrake’s side kick and Hojo, Mandrake’s Asian chef who is also the secret head of Inter-Intel, a global crime-fighting group. And he's Mandrake's chef.

Anyway Mandrake has been around since the 30s, and once had a serial of his own, an NBC pilot, a role on the cartoon Defenders of the Earth and was even once considered for a Fellini movie. The new Mandrake film is going to be directed by Chuck Russell (who was so cool in the 80s but has been hacktacular since), and Angel will design and create the visual effects, as well as act in it – as Mandrake, perhaps?

I like that they have a magician designing the magic. One of the many reasons why The Prestige will be a movie nobody gives a shit about in five years is that there’s no magic in it – it’s all these CGI effects. Same thing for The Illusionist. Watching a magician onstage in a movie and having CGI aid him is a terrible cheat.

Mandrake the Magician will film later this year, just in time to flop in 2008. He can join his King Feature Syndicate friend The Phantom at the bottom of the discount DVD bin in 2009.