Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away [Blu-Ray] Andrew Adamson

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away [Blu-Ray] Andrew Adamson
5
In a populist, theatre-free context, some might view Cirque du Soleil through the eyes of Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in Knocked Up, wherein they take in a performance of Cirque's Las Vegas show, Mystére, under the influence of 'shrooms. For those less inclined to take such trips or travel to Las Vegas to view one of Cirque's eight permanent fixture shows, director Andrew Adamson has teamed up with James Cameron to provide an inexpensive alternative with the release of Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. Threading together a narrative built from seven of the Vegas Cirque shows, Adamson takes audiences on a wondrous journey across the imaginative landscapes Cirque has become known for. In an effort to construct a narrative, a protagonist is established, in the form of Mia (Erica Linz), a young woman enamoured by a travelling circus's main attraction: the dashing aerialist (Igor Zaripov). When things go amiss during one of his performances, he falls into a sinking pit with Mia tumbling in after him. What follows is less of a love story and more of a "greatest hits" package of the Vegas shows, with Mia and her aerialist lover randomly popping up in each set and interjecting their pseudo-love story into the plotlines of the respective shows. The world below — a seemingly empty desert with enormous tents to represent a specific Cirque show — is less of a metaphysical universe to encapsulate love or misguided passion than a lazy literal interpretation of the melding together of thematically different performances. In theory, the idea of threading together all of the Vegas Cirque shows should be remarkable — Cirque spends millions on each of their stage productions and utilizes some of the most incredible technology to develop new methods of stage design, hydraulics, water and aerial feats. The downside is that Cirque makes these investments to create new, unique spectacles that will keep audiences flocking to Las Vegas to see them all — no one wants to spend a few hundred dollars to catch something they've already seen. Based on the strong individual narratives of each show, the threaded plot of Worlds Away becomes confusing and occasionally completely incoherent as things go off on various tangents that serve no purpose in the "travelling to the ends of the world" love story Mia initially embarked upon. In particular, the peppier pieces from the Beatles and Elvis shows stand out awkwardly, drawing attention to the lack of overall creativity in building a cohesive narrative. Looking past this poor construction, one can certainly find splendour in the visuals. James Cameron was brought in to assist with the usage of new film technology to help capture some of the most breathtaking visuals the Cirque stage shows have to offer. However, even they occasionally fail to replicate the physicality and sense of danger viewers experience when seated in one of the Vegas theatres. Part of the thrill of watching a live show is the unknown, which is removed entirely from a filmed version, wherein the audience is aware that a mortal accident won't randomly pop up. Special features include "A Day in the Life with Erica Linz," which gives viewers a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes training Cirque performers endure, as well as a segment entitled "Making Worlds Away," where Adamson and Cameron toot their horns but never actually show us how they did it. This package is solely the film in 2D Blu-Ray format, which is disappointing when the main appeal of this is the immersive, multi-layered environments. Without the 3D visuals — the main selling point of Worlds Away — the Blu-Ray package is boring and flat. Of course, if you follow the teachings of Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, this might not matter. (Paramount)