Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 17 February 2013
Andrew Adamson (director of Shrek and The Chronicles of Narnia) has turned his eye for visual effects from animation to a different sort of fantasy world. Constructing a nominal story (girl sees boy, girl follows boy, boy disappears, girl seeks boy) he films seven set-pieces from the Cirque du Soleil acrobatic shows, weaving them into the girl’s quest to find her paramour.
As with the National Theatre plays on film, the benefit of a concert movie is that you get up close to what’s happening on stage – no obstructed view for this audience. The camerawork captures the action from all perspectives – under the water, then high up in the air – presenting close-ups of awe-inspiring gymnastic feats that make you lament having let that gym membership expire (the girl in the martini glass boggles your mind).
The flipside is you can’t look where you want to – no sooner has the camera zoomed in to catch a trapeze artist than we’re back to a wide shot that takes in the whole stage, cluttered with a menagerie of impressive movements, each of which deserves its own centrepiece of the show.
Virtually dialogue-free, with a smattering of Beatles’ songs, this is a magical way for the whole family to experience death-defying stunt work and highly imaginative choreography.