Blu-ray Review: “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away”

Cirque du Soleil's principal owners almost certainly wanted to highlight all their shows for marketing reasons, but a movie version of “Love” would make for a less fussy and more rewarding experience.
Modified: March 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013
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‘Cirque du Soleil:

Worlds Away'

“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” delivers on one promise: it provides close-in vantage points that cannot be bought in a live setting for seven of Cirque's stage shows: “Mystere,” “Ka,” “Zumanity,” “O,” “Viva Elvis,” “Criss Angel Believe” and “Love.” But the framing device created by director Andrew Adamson, in which a young woman and a carnival aerialist are transported into Cirque's magical world, constantly distracts with the extraordinary physical abilities displayed by the group's acrobatic team.

Executive producer and director of photography James Cameron shot “Worlds Away” from the rafters, the stage and other inaccessible places for audiences, and thankfully he retains the feeling that these sequences are taking place on a stage — if he and Adamson took the action out of that realm, the film would not retain any of the wonder of the theatrical productions. What is entirely unnecessary is the chronic overuse of slow motion, which is pretty but shortchanges the performers by diminishing their velocity and creating distance from their grace.

Adamson wisely makes “Love,” Cirque's Beatles production, the centerpiece of “Worlds Away.” The sequences for “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Octopus' Garden” will make Fab Four fans who have not seen the show want to fly out to Las Vegas for the occasion. But the woman and the aerialist (Erica Linz and Igor Zaripov) and their budding romance are not compelling in the least and compete for attention with the more interesting work being done around them. Cirque du Soleil's principal owners almost certainly wanted to highlight all their shows for marketing reasons, but a movie version of “Love” would make for a less fussy and more rewarding experience.

George Lang