Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM
The experience of watching a live Cirque du Soleil show is an oddly entrancing one; it’s as if you enter a dream world, filled with curiously rubber-limbed people who twist themselves into positions both beautiful and strange. “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” the new 3D movie, lets you enter that world without the high ticket price. You miss some of the thrill of seeing it live — the how did they do that? factor is lower — but the beauty remains.
“Worlds Away,” which combines elements from seven Cirque du Soleil shows, has a vague narrative thread — and, like the stage shows, virtually no dialogue. A waiflike young woman in white (Erica Kathleen Linz) attends a shabby circus one night and instantly falls in love with the aerialist (Igor Zaripov). Distracted by her, he slips from his trapeze and falls — not to the sandy floor of the circus tent, but through it, into a series of vivid new worlds. She follows him, and after 90 minutes of random but often mesmerizing dance/acrobat numbers, they are reunited in a romantic aerial pas de deux.
Though it’s rated PG, I’m not sure if “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” is ideal for children; there’s no specifically inappropriate material, but some parts are a little scary (it’s often quite dark in this world) and the trance-like mood may not suit young attention spans. (The almost-8-year-old attending with me pronounced it “interesting” but didn’t include the film among his favorites.) But for older kids or grown-ups who’ve dreamed of joining the circus, it’s a wildly imaginative treat. A young woman performs a delicate, twisting ballet on the edge of a small, round pool of water, as if dancing on the rim of a wineglass; a troupe of elaborately tendriled jellyfish do a water ballet to “Octopus’s Garden”; a tricycle pedals through the narrative, propelled by a pair of empty boots.
The final dance, by the girl and the aerialist, is at times achingly beautiful; it’s as if they are alone in the world, dangling from the stars.
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“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” with Igor Zaripov, Erica Kathleen Linz, and members of Cirque du Soleil. Written and directed by Andrew Adamson. 93 minutes. Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality. Several theaters.
“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” with costumes by Dominique Lemieux, combines elements from seven of the group’s shows.