Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away


The ravishing and kitschy Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away is the rare movie whose title serves as an accurate indicator of whether you will enjoy seeing it. If you think it sounds good, it damn straight is; if not, beware—this has all the trapezing harlequins you fear. The aesthetic is circus meets Ovid meets Busby Berkeley. Against a dreamscape of horizon-wide curtains and stagecraft marvels like a swimming pool that can become the moon, a squad of contortionists, acrobats, and the like leap and soar and transform themselves into impossible things; in their skintight finery, they achieve everything movie superheroes do, in the requisite (but impressive) 3-D. Director Andrew Adamson offers acts from seven Cirque shows, and the best ones here are the simplest, during which the eye can follow each body’s flouting of the rules of gravity and bone structure. Several carnivalesque numbers are muddled to annoyance. When a riot of Yellow Submarine–looking characters, including an apparent Klansman and Dr. Evil, aimlessly mill about to “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” the effect is like watching a sinister Ice Capades. Much better is the trampoline thrills of Viva ELVIS, in which the King’s earthy music grounds the scenario—but not the leapers. Aerialists Erica Kathleen Linz and Igor Zaripov star in a goofy framing story about a young woman who visits a traveling carnival only to get sucked into the Cirque world. Like the movie, it beats the Vegas ticket price. Alan Scherstuhl