Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3-D (PG) ** if you’ve seen them live; **** if you haven’t. Filming live acrobatic performances has one unavoidable problem. Since you know they won’t include any flubs (or worse), the fear of mishap is removed. Without the aura of danger, viewers’ levels of engagement and adrenaline are greatly diminished. Yet the relative accessibility and price of movie tickets, compared to attending any of their myriad touring companies (one came to St. Louis in 2012) or permanent installations, there’s still considerable bang for your buck.
Cirque shows always engulf audiences with sensory overload, not only from uniquely dazzling displays of athleticism in its most graceful forms, but their signature multiple, overlapping arenas of action, with exotic costumes, elaborate sets and vaguely eerie music. 3-D helps make up for the loss of being surrounded by motion from multiple elevations and directions. A score that’s unusually stacked with pop music from the Beatles and others gives the proceedings broader appeal. Those who enjoy the surreal dreamscapes of these programs will find this movie true to that spirit. Even so, the more Cirque productions you’ve seen, the less a filmed version will trigger your sense of wonder. (12/21/12)