Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away review (3D Blu-ray)

Here’s the long and the short of it. What we have here is a greatest bits compilation from a number of the Cirque Du Soleil shows strung together with a love story. A young woman, Mia, discovers a carnival where she becomes entranced by an Aerialist. Midway through the show, their eyes meet, he misses the trapeze he is meant to be catching and he falls to ground... and somehow slips through some sort of wormhole into the dreamlike parallel world of Cirque du Soleil. Trying to save him, she gets sucked in too. Someone they got separated on the way so the film follows them as they travel through the different tent worlds trying to find each other.

That’s the plot and that’s all there is to it. As great as it looks, because there is no real need for character or narrative or story development at all, you just have to sit back and watch the patches of the quilt get sown together. As a result, the whole thing, while magical and visual stunning, is very bizarre and, considering how fantastic some of the set pieces and performances are... sadly very dull. If you’re a huge Cirque fan then you’ll have seen this most of the parts of this whole before. For the uninitiated, it’s a pretty, trippy mashup.

I’ve seen a number of Cirque shows over the years and every single one has been at least as impressive as the last. Here James Cameron, who has exec produced this, and Adamson, the director, have tried to capture the best of all worlds. The benefit is that with a camera they are able to do and show things that you can’t get from watching a Cirque show live. They can slow things down, they can take you above and below and inside the show to give you wholly new views of performances and sets and, of course, with the 3D you get a whole new dimension to these remarkable acrobatics and visuals and the 3D is done fantastically – if you are going to watch it, watch it in 3D.

The problem still remains though that this does feel just feel like a physical and visual mixtape. You will never have seen a Cirque show quite like this before so that’s a plus point. There is virtually no dialogue here at all apart from the lead actress, the stunning Linz, saying "Help!" at one point. The rest of the time, she acts with her body and her face – she does this well but basically showing emotion or reacting to something which are quite basic human functions so... as well as it is done... it’s like giving someone a Congratulations card for breathing.

Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away is a film that you will watch because you specifically want to watch it but it’s not something you would watch otherwise. It will also probably make you feel out of shape and old as these everyone on screen here is so buff and supple that it makes my cells cry... but I am entirely aware that you don’t get that way without hard work and total commitment so... moving on. Cirque are the best in the world at what they do and it remains one of the most impressive things you will ever see in your life... but a good movie that does not make sadly. Visually stunning and impressive but deathly dull.

EXTRAS ★★ There are two extras on the Blu-ray. The first is a basic EPK featurette called Making Worlds Away that runs for just a couple of minutes and tells you of what the film is about, why they made it and how they made it in the most basic way possible – this is purely a box-ticking piece of PR editorial. The second extra is A Day In The Life with Linz and it is basically her and some of her fellow Cirquers working on a routine to try out, giving a more in depth explanation of what the film is about and how great it was to work with Cameron and Adamson , the benefits of seeing the movie over just any show as an audience member, her background and how she got into the Cirque world... and then they perform the piece they put together. Again, box ticking but more interesting than the Making Of featurette. Neither is really anything to write home about.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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