Magic, Psychology and Transformers 3

So I managed to catch Transformer 3: Dark Side of the Moon. I really liked the first two. No.. It was not because Megan Fox was starring in it (okay, who am I kidding, maybe a little bit because of her), but it was because it had a clearly defined plot as well as a comprehensible storyline that I could follow.

Revenge of the Fallen

You see, the thing about Transformers 3 is that, the plot is somewhat unclear; I had a hard time trying to follow what was going on. And halfway through the movie, I gave up and went to the restroom. And believe me, I had to get pass 2 lady who was actually sleeping amidst the action movie. Yes, read that again, sleeping! I had to wake them up to get across.

While I cannot discredit the effort it took to make the visuals look so good. The fight scenes were pretty awesome. And there was loads and loads of destruction. Doesn’t it make you wonder who does the clearing up of the city after all that mess? The Decepticon? The Autobots? Or maybe the Fantastic 4?

Tough luck for the Decepticons for having to clear the mess

So my point is this, while the visuals are fantastic, the plot and storyline has more to be desired. And I draw a parallel relationship to a production like this to magic shows I watch.

In magic, there are many shows (and when I say show, I do mean a formal performance of about 30 minutes or more, not simply a few random tricks), that lacks this sort of storytelling in them. All you are going to see is visual magic that makes no sense. Like making canes appear or disappear without rhyme or reason. I love it when canes are made to appear, they do look very magical, and I love the potential they have. But way too many magicians are doing that because they can.  

Even in close up magic, I know magicians who do random magic that does not string well. So do them very well, in a right setting, some do not. Like in a bar/pub setting, Hashi-san is a master when he does his magic at the bar. He knows his audience type, he knows that they probably do not have the motivation or ability to concentrate or follow a plot. His magic is simple, direct and visual, albeit a little disjointed. But it works in a bar!

I for a difference believe in stringing up my routines that they form a story. And I practise that in my cosy close up show at the bar and even on stage. And my reasoning is backed by psychological principles.

Professor Barlett from Cambridge University in 1932 published an experiment in which he had participants to read a story about a Native American. The story consisted of certain minute details like, “happened in dusk” and if the characters were actually injured. When asked to recall the story, participants retold the story in a way that fitted a schema (mental representation). And what was interesting is that while they are unable to get the details correct, they were able to recall the gist of the story. How interesting…

So back to magic, my routines are structured in such a way the audience would remember the main theme of my performance as well as the closing piece (Recency Effect). While they may not clearly remember the bits and pieces of the magic, they can recall a storyline, and hence remember me. So if your magic is like T3, (Spoiler alert) all they are going to remember is: “a lot of destruction and Optimus Prime destroyed Sentinel Prime, but I cannot remember what the story is really about….”

One response to “Magic, Psychology and Transformers 3

  1. Pingback: Revisting Optimus Prime Customs and Transformers 3 Review | BACKSTAGE BUSINESS

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