Synopsis: Two young people journey through the dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to find each other.
Director: Andrew Adamson
Running Length: 91 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Canada’s highly regarded Cirque du Soleil has spent the last several decades slowly expanding their artistry throughout the world. With sit down shows in Las Vegas, touring shows around the globe, or getting in early on the reality show bubble (Fire Within on Bravo), the group always seems to be first in line to try something and not have a fear of failure. They are really just trapeze artists without a net and that’s what has made their work so strong.
Like their inventive stage shows, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away won’t be for everyone. The nearly dialogue-free film marvels maybe a bit too much at its own creativity…but in the end the striking visuals and surprisingly engaging stunts work their magic on audiences to help tell the tale of two young people crossing the dizzying Cirque worlds in their quest to be reunited.
As is the case with many of their performances, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away begins with a pixie youth entering a world unfamiliar. Circus Marvelous is where the film begins as Mia (Linz) wanders around solo, catching the eye of a young Aerialist (Zaripov). It’s during his stage show that both Mia and The Aerialist find themselves swept away into an alternate universe from the creative minds at Cirque du Soleil.
The Worlds Away are basically filmed segments from various Cirque shows around the world. Now before you dismiss this as a movie pieced together from clip reels let me say that what Cirque du Soleil did was go back to their shows to see what pieces would work best in the film and then adapted them to fit with the story. The thread that ties everything together is admittedly weak because it’s really just a way to get to a series of performances observed by Mia or The Aerialist…but as the film progresses it gets more interesting and focused.
The first half of the movie is probably less “fun” than the second with more of the ribald and funny acts coming in after the halfway mark. The opening acts come from the shows O and Kà and there is no grandiosity lost as we marvel at the wondrous beauty of the merging of magic and water with O. Kà draws on visuals from imperial China with gravity defying stunts that are highlights of the film. Other sections are drawn from Viva Elvis, Love (The Beatles), Mystere, Zumanity, and more.
More than a glorified 90 minute ad for the troupe, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away has another trick up its sleeve courtesy of an excellent use of 3D technology from director Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and producer James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar). The movie was filmed in 3D so there is a striking amount of depth to the image that really does enhance the film experience. It’s worth the upcharge to take in the Cirque worlds that burst with color and rely very little on digital effects.
I was worried going in that some of the tension of seeing a Cirque show live wouldn’t be present and was surprised that I was as involved with the film as I was. Though nothing can compare with witnessing some of the magic live, Adamson and his Cirque collaborators have done a smashing job with putting to film some of the crazier stunts that have been conceived. Using very little special effects is another selling point and helps the audience believe in the stunts they are seeing, creating the desired effect of actually being a part of the show.
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away is an entertaining trek that allows audiences to experience the world of Cirque du Soleil from whatever city they may be seeing the film in. It starts off pretty ordinary but ends in typical Cirque fashion with a rousingly moving finale. You don’t have to go to Vegas or wait for a touring company to introduce you to the wonders of Cirque du Soleil. Though I highly recommend shelling out the dough to see them live if you ever have the chance, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away should fit the bill as a worthy substitute.