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Cube FX Review

Official Review

October 13th, 2015 4:20am
Reviewed by James Sanden
Cube F/X by Karl Hein and John George is a 3 DVD set teaching some fantastic magic with a Rubik’s Cube. Taught are Mr. Hein’s signature routine, as well as Mr. George’s version with some significant modifications. Additional routines, ideas and approaches are included, as well as a comprehensive course on solving the Rubik’s Cube, including speed solving techniques, as well as a tutorial on solving the cube blindfolded.

The first disc covers Mr. Hein’s routine, during which a great deal of magic happens, including the performer’s cube matching a spectator’s randomly mixed cube, the cube becoming instantly solved in the magician’s hand, as well as having the cube magically match a random color picked by a spectator. It’s a fantastic routine, with much variety, both in effect as well as impact, including visual magic, amazing coincidence and a very powerful moment when the cube mysteriously identifies a merely thought of color.

The instruction on the DVD is absolutely top notch, continuing the trend Mr. Hein set in his previous independent releases. Both he and Mr. George clearly understand that working with a prop like the Rubik’s Cube can be potentially confusing and intimidating. Consequently, they are very clear in their instruction and deliberately organize the content in a pedagogical manner, introducing the basics before going on to more complex ideas, including beginning with an overview before adding in potentially distracting and confusing details. Working with the cube will also require reviewing the DVD content, which is made even easier with in-chapter navigation, cuing the viewer if he or she wants to fast forward to the description of just the technique. This is a welcome and appreciated addition to a project like this.

The method used in the second phase of Mr. Hein’s routine is similar in concept to others in print, but his particular version has much in its favor. Without going into too much detail, he constructed his “instant solve” method such that any pattern on the scrambled cube will be difficult to detect, as well designing it so that the “dirty work” is completed on an off beat. He also offers a wide range of presentational ideas and approaches to give the viewer options and food for thought on how to perform the “instant solve” portion of the routine, as well as a variety of subtleties, convincers and tips for performance.

The third phase of the routine, during which the cube magically becomes solved on a single side, that side matching the color a spectator merely thought of, is both novel and intriguing. The method is clever and utilizes some of the other principles taught on the DVD, as well as ideas created just for this phase. Being a practical performer, Mr. Hein offers a number of approaches and techniques to accomplish this effect, some of which require additional props while others do not, giving the viewer a variety of options. He also teaches what to do if something goes wrong (including if the spectator changes their mind.) Both this section and the previous section are packed full of practical, audience tested ideas, tips and recommendations to make the effects powerful and more effective.

After the overview of the method for his routine, Mr. Hein and Mr. George go into detail, outlining and explaining the specifics for how to perform the various phases. Again, the clarity and thought seen in this section show the amount of time and consideration put into organizing the instruction. In addition to clear summaries and detailed walk throughs, over-the-shoulder footage is included to maximize ease of learning the technique. Included are tips on practicing, as well as variations, and thoughts on speed and finger position. Also discussed are choreography, scripting and misdirection that can be used to cover the moves in performance. It’s truly a comprehensive tutorial on everything one would need to know to perform the routine.

The second disc begins with a performance by Mr. George of his version of Mr. Hein’s routine. Calling it a version is unfair, as, while it uses some of the same techniques and part of the method, he uses them in innovative ways and to much different effect. Mr. George’s version begins with him genuinely solving a spectator mixed cube in about thirty seconds. He then mixes up his cube so that it matches a spectator’s scrambled cube, instantly solves a cube in his hands, and finally a mixed cube, isolated in a paper bag, solves itself without his touching it. It’s quite a baffling finale.

The instruction for Mr. George’s version is as clear and comprehensive as the original handling, including tips, idea and recommendations gleaned from performing it countless times in the real world. However, unlike Mr. Hein’s routine, Mr. George’s method does require an extra something, which is not included or detailed, as it’s another performer’s release. However, the manner it’s used is quite clever and unconventional, and will fool those in the know. Just be aware that if you’d like to perform Mr. George’s version, another (relatively inexpensive) prop must be purchased.

The second disc also contains a variety of additional material, including a close up effect with the cube that has a photo change on the spectator’s phone (a la Asi Wind’s “Double Exposure,”) as well as extensive discussion regarding performing with the cube in a strolling situation versus on stage, blindfold cube solving, miscellaneous ideas, and a trove of information about the cube, including facts about the Rubik’s Cube, how it works, and how to repair and maintain your cube.

The final disc is a DVD previously released by Mr. George, teaching how to genuinely solve the Rubik’s Cube. The basic technique is clearly taught and the instruction is thorough. There is additional information on solving the cube quickly (“speed cubing”), including a PDF of additional algorithms for memorization, as well as a brief overview of how to solve the cube blindfolded.

Cube F/X is an in depth exploration of magic using the Rubik’s Cube that includes approaches to not only the “instant solve” and “matching cubes” effects you may have seen before, but also offers an unusual effect where the cube magically solves a thought of color on the cube, as well as several other routines. The instruction is excellent and the DVD is well organized for learning. It also includes a very comprehensive tutorial on solving the Rubik’s Cube, as well as many advanced approaches to speed up the solve as well as make it more theatrically interesting. The packaging doesn’t include a Rubik’s Cube, so keep in mind you’ll have to buy your own to perform the material. Given that, and the cost of the DVD set, investing in this is not inexpensive. However, the novelty of the effect, the quality of the magic and the excellent teaching make for an outstanding release. Of the recent Rubik’s Cube magic releases, this is my favorite. Highly recommended.

Product info for Cube FX

Author: Karl Hein and John George
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $79.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

DVD1 - This extensive instructional DVD focuses on Karl Hein's professional three phase stand-up routine that he has performed around the world and on TV.

DVD2 - John George teaches his version of CUBE FX which regularly astonishes audiences. You will also learn an incredible close-up cube effect with a smartphone as well as be inspired by dozens of ideas and effects from two of magic's most innovative conjurors.

DVD3 - This DVD teaches beginners how to legitimately solve the cube and gives experienced cubers tips on how to improve their speed and do blindfold solves.

"I've seen Karl's CUBE FX in action at the Magic Castle and it slayed the wild group of party folk. You will be wise to add this hip and playful feature to your repertoire." - Jeff McBride Las Vegas Headliner

“Nothing to see here, move on people!”-Justin Willman

"As one of the more well known Rubik's Cube Magicians in the world.. I can Honestly say that Karl has the HOLY GRAIL in cube magic." - Steven Brundage

"Karl is one of my favorite magicians and this is one of my favorite effects in all of magic. I have never seen anything have more impact." Jon Armstrong

"I've watched this routine bring the house down and to their feet. It's a wonderful act unto itself." -Andrew Mayne

"Karl's work with the Rubik's cube operates on so many levels, it proves Abraham Lincoln was wrong. Karl can fool all of the people all of the time." - John Lovick

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