A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away isn't a documentary about the inner workings of Cirque performers but rather a 90-minute performance (with a framing story) featuring 3-D segments from most of the company's popular Las Vegas shows. There's little dialogue, and many of the performances are high-concept, death-defying acrobatic stunts. Some of the pieces include a bit of violence (all simulated, obviously, but they do include weapons such as spears and arrows), and a couple are focused on romance and sensuality -- especially the performance from the Cirque's "adult" show, Zumanity (which centers on a woman in a very sheer leotard), and the climactic lovers' duet.
What's the story?
Produced by James Cameron, this 3-D look at the Cirque du Soleil follows Mia (Erica Linz), a young woman who wanders into a traveling circus, where she's transfixed by the big top's star aerialist (Igor Zaripov). During his death-defying performance, he locks on eyes on Mia and falls. But instead of just landing in the ring, he falls into sand that takes him and Mia -- who follows him -- to another dimension, where there are several circus tents. Having lost sight of the aerialist, Mia goes from tent to tent, where she witnesses various amazing performances until she's finally reunited with her beloved.
Is it any good?
There's an awe-inspiring artistry and athleticism to Cirque du Soleil shows that are unmatched in the world of circus performances. There's a reason tickets to the most popular of the Las Vegas-based Cirque shows can cost upward of $150: These world-class acrobats, contortionists, and other performers will absolutely blow you away with their gymnastic theatricality in breathtaking sets that you won't find at the "regular" traveling circus.
But high-concept circus numbers aren't for everybody. Those who already fans of or are intrigued by Cirque du Soleil shows will appreciate the showmanship, the technical precision, and the beauty of the performances, but those who are ambivalent about this form of entertainment will likely be bored by some of the more esoteric segments, with the exception of the more straightforward "Viva Elvis" and "Beatles Love" productions. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY may be one long advertisement, but it's also an affordable way to see the most impressive performances from a variety of the company's shows.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away is part performance piece and part marketing tool. Does the movie make you want to see a live Cirque show? Why or why not?
Do you think the framing device works? Did you expect more dialogue? Did it feel strange that it was missing?
Did the segments featuring music by Elvis or the Beatles seem more accessible than the ones with less familiar music or story lines? How do the Cirque performances compare to what you've seen in more traditional circuses?
- In theaters: December 21, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: March 12, 2013
- Cast: Erica Linz, Igor Zaripov, Lutz Halbhubner
- Director: Andrew Adamson
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Arts and Dance
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some dramatic images and mild sensuality
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.