Just as Les Mis was soaringly monotonous, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (3D) is soaringly pointless. No point to it whatsoever. I looked. I looked everywhere for a point, even under my cinema seat. (That’s how desperate I was.) But I came up empty-handed. It’s 90 minutes of sheer, total, utter pointlessness, as written and directed by Andrew Adamson (who directed the first two Shreks and the first two Chronicles of Narnia) and produced by James Cameron, who has made some good films, and Titanic. God knows what they were thinking of when they embarked on this. And boredom doesn’t even come near it. I experienced the sort of boredom that is also a seething rage spread thin. What am I doing here? When’s it going to end? Why did anyone imagine this was even a film? Enough with the trapezing and trampolining and roller-skating and diving already. What shall we have for out tea tonight? This Cirque irks.
A bit of background: Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian entertainment company founded in 1984 as ‘a mix of circus acts and entertainment arts’, is now a phenomenon with spin-offs playing all over the world and almost continually in Las Vegas. It is breathtakingly thrilling live but that’s what it is: a live experience. Seeing a Cirque du Soleil film makes about as much sense as going to the cinema to see...I don’t know...a group of people having dinner at El Bulli, and then imagining you ate there. A narrative is imposed, but it’s so bland and so obviously imposed, it’s pathetic, as well as pointless in and of itself. (I even turned out my pockets, but nothing, nada, nowt.)
Here is the story, for what it’s worth, and because I have to fill the rest of this space with words, or I’m for it: so, a young woman (Erica Linz) with short hair and big eyes and a simpering look, and wearing a Dorothy-from-Oz-type frock, which is surely too childish for her, attends some kind of fairground carnival where a scary clown (is there any other type?) gives her a flyer for ‘The Aerialist’. This woman attends the aerialist’s show, but as he (Igor Zaripov) is twirling on his trapeze their eyes meet, and he falls into what I can only describe as this big sand-pit thingie. She, having been instantly smitten — you can tell this is so by the way she ratchets up the simpering look — follows him, and then pursues him through various worlds that are meant to be dreamy and sometimes beautiful and sometimes sinister but which actually don’t add up to more than several of Cirque’s set pieces strung together.
The acrobats are amazing. Their bodies do things I didn’t know bodies could do. The pecs are pectastic. There is water and roller skates and stilts, but without the frisson of live element, who cares? I know I didn’t. This is just a lot of visual stuff all crowded together, and as for the 3D, how many times do I have to say: we’ve all got something that transforms 2D into 3D. It’s called a brain. This 3D technology does absolutely nothing for me, bar always making me think I’ve left my sunglasses on, which is weird, as I don’t even ever wear sunglasses.
This film fails on so many levels but its biggest failure is failing to even be a film. It’s more like some promo reel or highlights tape. If you haven’t yet seen Cirque du Soleil, go see them in a theatre, which I can recommend fully. This, I can’t recommend. No point, no point, no point, no point. I even tipped out my shoe, but it wasn’t in there, either.