Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thoughts: Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away

Cirque du Soleil… What a beauty it is.

So usually when I see movies I feel like I always walk out not liking it, but I guess it happens.  Sometimes I see a film that really gets me.  So much so that any doubts I had about my enjoyment of circus as both a student and a spectator were abolished.  Just blow to pieces by the end of the film.  Now I am not saying it’s for everyone, but for me it was more then perfect.

The only Cirque show I have ever seen is Zarkana and I wasn’t impressed.  I enjoyed it but it didn’t pull me into the show.  I don’t recall it having many aerial acts and feeling like it had led me astray in it’s marketing and promotional material.

Worlds Away is full of aerial acts.  However, I still do not like 3D.


Worlds Away is about a woman named Mia who wanders into Circus Marvelous.  Circus Marvelous is more of the classic tent circus.  She is then directed to see The Aerialist by a clown who gives her an add featuring his face and the words The Aerialist.  She goes into the tent and is amazed by this aerialist, but when he sees her he slips and falls onto the ground   The ground becomes quicksand and he slips into a hole and Mia runs into the ring (the tent is now empty) and slips into the ground as well.  Both of them are transported to another world separated and are desperately trying to find one another.

While in this new world they each travel to different tents.  Each tent represents a different stage and a different show from the seven Las Vegas shows that were performing at the time.  Appropriately each tents show was filmed in it’s Las Vegas theater.  That was a question that crossed my mind watching the film.  How did they get the space to film this?  Oh right, the theaters they are performed in.  I have not seen any of these shows but I do know which shows were filmed for Worlds Away.

Synchronized swimming, duo trapeze, bateau, fire, and contortion.  The zebras are seen several times in the show.  This show by far had the most influence in the beginning of the film.  I can’t not wonder how on earth those swimmers held their breath for so long underwater while dancing with their legs in the air.  They even show the swimming from underwater.  The bateau was really cool.  It’s a ship-like structure with aerialists swinging it back and forth.  Meanwhile on each end there is a catch bar where a baser is swinging and aerialist around.  I don’t think I need to explain how much I love watching contortion.  Fire acts don’t interest me, but seeing the clown lit in flames from head to toe just reading the paper like nothing was happening was a unique touch.

Aerial cube.  Beautiful.  Its absolutely beautiful.  He moved this (most likely) aluminum cube frame around his body while performing on straps.  Amazing to watch.

Bungee and Wheel of Death.  Think about seeing a war take place on a stage except the stage is sideways and the war is taking place on the wall.  All performers are on their own bungee fighting a battle.  As a movie viewer we get to see it from a different perspective which both adds and distracts from the idea.  The film shows it both side ways as the audience would see it and also as one would see it if it were being performed on the ground.  I didn’t find the Wheel of Death to be that interesting.  Oddly, I think Zarkana’s Wheel of Death is better.  It’s still great and there is a certain appreciation for a person that can jump rope around the outside of the wheel of death.  He also does a quick hand stand run.  I can’t even do a handstand let alone run on the outside of a hamster wheel while the wheel itself rotates.  I think what made me not like the wheel was that the performer seemed to be having some difficulties.  Maybe he was having an off day.  I can’t really imagine this being the kind of film where they had more then one shot to film the performance.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Black Bird, Octopus Garden, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Get Back.  Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is my favorite scene in the whole movie.  It starts with a man wheeling around a ladder structure while performing a touch of acrobatic maneuvers and then when the chorus hits Lucy in her blinged out costume comes flying out of the sky in what I believe was called a rope bungee act.  She then floats down to the ladder and does some pretty positions and flys off into the sky again during the chorus.  Loved it!  Octopus Garden was a great scene as well.  A menagerie of people and circus acts.  I believe I saw some lyra.  A few jack in the box type performers and some clown like acts.

Hand balancing.  The Aerialist looks up at the moon and it turns into a small pool where this hand balancing routine takes place.  A beautiful female in a small costume performs this piece that is mean to be very sensual.  The Zumanity show is just that.  It’s not the typical family friendly cirque show.  Instead it explores circus and sexuality.

Viva Elvis
Trampoline.  This act was from Viva Elvis but it is actually performed to Love’s Get Back.  It features several performers in superhero-like costumes doing a pop action trampoline act.  Had I not just seen a pop action show last weekend I might have been more impressed.  It’s still great though.

Criss Angel Believe
I am reading this show was a part of the film, but I am not sure what act.  There is a scene where The Aerialist walks out of a tent and a large plush rabbit head is on the ground.  The rabbit head rolls over and then is upside down on the tips of its ears and directs The Aerialist to another tent.

The movie ends with a gorgeous strap duo between Mia and the Aerialist.  It’s just gorgeous.  Learning circus art and watching the act they performed I know how amazingly difficult that routine is to pull off.

At the beginning of the movie they showed the trailer for it which I thought was really odd even though I liked seeing the behind the scenes.  We were informed as with Zarkana that in fact the film was a love story.  I immediately got annoyed at this.  Not because it was a love story but because I didn’t yet understand how the audience could follow this “love story.”  Zarkana is about a man searching for his lost love through strange worlds and I couldn’t follow it.  Worlds Apart was much different.  It was very clear the two characters were searching for one another romantically.  What amazes me is the lack of script.  Very very few words are spoken in the film.  Mia exclaims “help” at one point, one of the Ka actors calls her name, but that’s pretty much all of the speaking roles.  The journey is laid out so well that one could follow the story with the sound on mute.  The soundtrack only adds to the film.

What did annoy me was the 3D.  I don’t like 3D.  I like it sometimes during an animation, but otherwise I see no need for it.  It’s just a gimmick to me.  However, if I am going to the movies and the person with me wants to see 3D I will gladly go.  It's not a huge deal.  I just prefer not to.  So I hadn’t seen a 3D movie in awhile.  This movie was not available in 2D at the theaters by me (I am not sure if it is anywhere) so I was stuck with 3D.  Honestly, I don’t think I would have had a different experience had I seen it in 2D.  There were a few scenes where the 3D really stood out, but for the most part it was meaningless.  During the water acts splashes of water appear to pop out of the screen and the intro is very much 3D, but I didn’t notice much more 3D.

What I found to be the most interesting during this film was the ability to see the acts from a different view point that I would have if I were a theater spectator.  During the cube act we see his act from straight on, above, and below.

I loved Worlds Away.  Absolutely loved it.  Remember this is coming from a circus geek.  It’s definitely not for everyone, but perfect for me.  This is a DVD I will be picking up and I will probably even go for the Bluray.

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