Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away dives into a water wonderland


Starring Erica Linz and Igor Zaripov. Rated G.

Directed and written by New Zealander Andrew Adamson, this Cirque du Soleil effort was produced in part by James Cameron, so you know there will be water. Plenty of aqua is at play here in this 3-D greatest-hits package, but things are initially situated in an old-school carnival with a side of German cabaret. The film’s high-tech look, by the way, is of the deep-focus, immersive variety, rather than the eye-poking sort you might expect.

The subminimal plot finds a (mostly) unnamed young gamine (Erica Linz) drifting through the dreamlike Circus Marvelous, making brief contact with a muscular aerialist (Igor Zaripov). “Stop eyeing up the Jills,” the guy’s burly boss yells, in the film’s only memorable line of dialogue. (Hell, it practically is the only line of dialogue.)

A subsequent mishap sends Mr. Muscles through a trap door to another dimension. Our little filly follows, clutching a flyer for her potential beloved—an advertisement made of admirably durable material, much like the contortionists, trapeze artists, and leotard-stretching ninja turtles she subsequently encounters. The “worlds” she visits may represent different continents, divided by steaming seas, or they could be phases of history. The emphasis on martial arts and Indonesian-style arrangements conveys a strong Asiatic flair.

Most of the sequences are simply drawn from previous Cirque productions and shot at different venues, with the most widely recognizable being a hefty slice of Love, with beautifully remixed Beatles songs governing the action. (“Octopus’s Garden” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” were born for the circus, naturally.) A lone Elvis Presley number, enacted by trampolining superheroes, somehow slipped in there, and the scene has an antic sense of humour missing from many other segments. There’s not much human heat, either, in this densely packed, family-aimed production, but plenty of everything else.

Watch the trailer for Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.
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