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Mark Fellman/ © 2012 Cirque Du Soleil Burlesco

Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away

Movies

Issue: "Another dark day in America," Jan. 12, 2013

Cirque du Soleil is many things, artsy, sensual, dreamlike, over the top, and at times rather bizarre. If you’ve seen one of their traveling or resident Las Vegas shows, you can picture it exactly—the breathtaking stunts, the fantastical costumes, the exotic music. Now it’s on display in the feature-length film, Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away.

This dazzling 3D journey was directed and produced by Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) along with executive producer James Cameron (Titanic and Avatar). With stunning visuals and eccentric music Adamson and Cameron wordlessly tell the story of Mia, a young woman who falls in love with a handsome aerialist and must search for him through seven Cirque worlds.

These worlds, encapsulated in massive circus tents in a misty desert wasteland, are a compilation of various Cirque shows including “O,” “KÀ” and “Mystère,” among others. Each world is more peculiar than the last. There are elaborate synchronized swimming sequences, a flying ship, a pivoting elevated stage, a trampoline number set to Elvis music, and a psychedelic Beatles routine.

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Visually entrancing as it is, the film is too long and its plot too simple to keep the audience interested for 90 minutes. The 3D filming beautifully captures the raw theatricality of Cirque, but a 60-minute reel would have done the job without burdening the audience with gaudy detail. 

It’s not unpleasant, though, and other than one scene of overt sensuality things stay clean in this PG film. But this is not a show for young children; the outlandish costumes and edgy acts can appear almost nightmarish at times, particularly on the big screen. This film, with its marvelous visuals and complex routines, is well-suited for Cirque fans and those who have always wanted to see a Cirque show, offering all the excitement and beauty of a live Cirque du Soleil show for a fraction of the cost.

Stephanie Perrault
Stephanie Perrault

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