Published May 01, 2000Quebec-based theatrical phenomenon Cirque du Soleil makes a foray into film with the new IMAX 3-D movie Journey of Man, and it stays true to the company's reputation for innovative design and spectacular movement sequences. The film is held together by a loose narrative that is basically a stylised coming of age story, following a boy from in utero throughout his life until old age. Each period of his life is set in a different geographic location and each has him encountering different pieces of symbolic acrobatic movement, which get increasingly incredible as the film goes on. The film is definitely family-oriented entertainment, with narration (as read by the silver-tongued Ian McKellen) that is simple, bordering on simplistic. The film's message is uplifting enough, though, telling us that our dreams, faith, and love are our most important possessions and that selling out for money and power is ultimately unfulfilling. Visually, the piece is quite stunning, switching back and forth between the typical IMAX sweeping photography of natural landscapes and extended scenes of acrobatic performances. What some of these performers can do with their bodies is mind-blowing; it is in itself worth the price of admission. On top of that, the design is amazing, the choreography is astounding, and the entire thing is in 3-D. In the tradition of the Cirque's stage shows, with some beautiful natural settings thrown in for good measure, Journey of Man is an experience of pure sensory delight.