Director: Judd Ehrlich
With: Derrin Berger, Lucas Black, Jonah Conlin, Zach Ivins, and Zoe Reiches
Did you know there is a one week magic camp during the summer that has had the likes of David Blain and David Copperfield attend? Did you know this camp takes place in a castle on a university campus? Did you know the kids that go to this camp are really good?
Magic Camp is a cute documentary about kids who truly love magic and why they love it. We follow a number of students through their days at the camp as they practice their trade. Though their ages vary from twelve to seventeen, all the kids are accomplished and dedicated. Jonah Conlin is the youngest and dyslexic. Zoe Reiches wants to prove women are more than just assistants. Zach Ivins wants to bring his faith into his act. Reed Spool is the returning champion who is thinking about dropping-out of school to pursue his career full-time. And Julian Rosenblum is a self-taught magician who made his own website, and has been booked to perform at bar and bat mitzvah.
What we quickly learn is Magic Camp is no joke. Pressure and homesickness quickly cause Julian to go home. Reed Spool is called-out by the instructors for coasting on his previous year’s accomplishments and not giving it his all. These young magicians are treated with respect and treated as professionals. They are given hard criticisms and aid to help improve their performances. By the end you truly want them to succeed and grow.
The weakness of the film is in not strictly focusing on the principal students and their interactions with the instructors. An argument could be made the filmmakers should only have focused on two of the four finalist in order for us to experience more of the camp and how it affected the participants. You leave wishing you had learned a more about the kids.
But you will also leave impressed with the dedication and skill of these kids. Though not as well made as a comparable documentary such as Wordplay, you feel better for having watched it.
Grade = B-