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BMZ Review: Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (3D)
By Herb Lash

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BMZ Review of Cirque du Soleil
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: March 2002

     

Category: Reviews

The performers in Cirque du Soliel are the sort of Canadians you don't meet everyday. Members of the Quebecois troupe travel the world in a variety of high priced stage shows, they have an in-residence water show in Las Vegas and they were recently tapped to perform in the 2002 Academy Awards show. Capturing the attention of world's largest TV audience is no small feat, but these performers are already veterans of the world's largest movie screen. The 3-D Imax movie CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: THE JOURNEY OF MAN is pretty good fun and offers a great (cheap) introduction to these mystical, magical,flipping, flying and contorting acrobats.

The film is a brief history of human evolution - a lesson that relies more on mystical imaginings than it does on science. Life begins in the sea - synchronized swimming beauties perform a sort of starfish ballet that is as weird as it is beautiful. Blasted from this watery world are the makings of a young boy - one who soon finds himself on strange land. An enchanted Red Wood forest is full of babbling elves and strange bungee jumping acrobat wood sprites. The boy is snatched up to the treetops and the story enters the world of Air and Fire. The boy grows in age, size and wisdom with each segue - life's stages are represented by elaborately choreographed Cirque routines. Well-muscled men and lithe women are forever zipping past, over and at the Giant Screen audience. Again, it is difficult to describe how powerful IMAX 3D(R) images can be - the first time viewer will be unable to resist ducking and flinching away from these flying Canucs. Sadly, the boy becomes a man and is soon full to the brim with knowledge and book learning - his life has become lonely and dry. But life is a circle and it doesn't take much more than a magic hat and an exploding book to return the old man to the state of blissful childhood innocence.

Story, life philosophy and characters are not really the strong points here. This Big Movie is structured with an eye toward the acrobatic routines - extracting clear meaning from each mini-extravaganza saps the fun of things. These are first and foremost circus performers and the thrust of all activity is to Amaze. The best in the world Imax 3-D technology bedazzles, as always. The subject matter is not exactly a natural fit for 3D imaging - but the film is never less than fun and sometimes spectacular. The film is one of those rare entertainments that really is for the whole family - or at least everybody with a taste for friendly fantasy.

A side note and word of disclosure: as further evidence of how dispensible Big Movie voice over narratives can be, I saw the German version of this film, and understood things just fine. I don't speak German. The images are self-explanatory and the message is clear. A boy goes from embryonic state to dry land where his soul is then sullied by language, books and civilization. It's not that knowledge is evil - but it did get us kicked out of Paradise. The Cirque Performers tumble out of Paradise like no one else. The film may not be the Greatest Show on Earth, but it does make it easy to run off and join the circus.

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Journey of Man--In 3D IMAX® by Ross Anthony

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