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BMZ Review: Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (3D)
By Ross Anthony


Journey of Man--In 3D IMAX®
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: 2000


Category: Reviews

I'm a lover of Cirque Du Soleil ... the colors, the artistry, the originality, the grace, boldness, the eroticism ... it magnificently transcends "circus". And even though I was less than satisfied by "Dralion," I was still very excited to attend this IMAX 3D® presentation. However, while "Journey of Man" 3D is quite nice, it isn't magical overall. For those unfamiliar with Cirq (Cirque Du Soleil), here's their mission statement: "Invoke, provoke and evoke the imagination, the senses and the emotions of people around the world."

This 38 minute production integrates six distinctive sequences, each shot on location (no virtual worlds are created - though a cable here or a light there have been digitally deleted).

Here's what they do, do well, and can improve on: Taiko Drummers beat out pounding rhythms as a boy is "born" from the wisping smoke. The boy is transported to the sea (Bahamas) where seven swimmers sink in sync in pink and shimmering scales. Forming honeycomb-like shapes, they become a fluid kaleidoscope. (Kudos to the crew - one reel of Imax film is finished in just three minutes. That's a lot of getting in and out of the water.) From here the boy is passaged  into a forest, where two symbolic clowns pop into view: "Born with only instincts as my guides. In those childhood days, they never left my side. They were all I knew and all I needed."

Sprang wonder to the boy, in the form of four swinging acrobats twirling on bungies letting their canary hairs flutter through the air as they flip and yo-yo, their rubber cords attached like strings to the branch-fingers of the green-leafed trees. This act is best shot when one "bird" is singled out twirling toward the camera and away - or from center, directly above or below the square formed with each swinger a corner point.

The boy a young man becomes, standing now in the orange rock Nevada desert; the next muse a strong man with a metallic cube slightly his larger. Bare chest swelling, mane of hair wind-handled, cube spinning a like top on his up-held palm, he looks glorious at first sight, but this visual does not escalate. Inspired, the boy in a running leap, jumps from a short cliff and flies! This moment of aerial photography offers nothing new to the Imax screen.

We land in a garden surrounding a tranquil pond in which a man and a woman float "in Love" atop a stationary lily pad. Painted as marble the man balances the woman with hypnotic care, precision, and gentleness vertically head to head. The two move slower than Tai Chi, entwining, faces expressionless, eyes brimming over with emotion, muscles quivering, lungs expanding. This is what I expect from Cirq!!!

But the boy-man prefers to buy his love, as the greedy demon replaces his ordinary hat with one of gold. "Older doubts and troubles invaded my seclusion," he next finds himself in a magnificent hall as acrobats toss themselves from one to the other. The most remarkable event captures the two thin women, in halter skirts and blonde shag wigs, dancing from ground to air with men as engines to their dance.  It's as if they were swimming, their skinny arms and legs moving as if animated in some Tim Burton film.

Then he becomes an old man and allows dreams/faith/love to win him back. I would have liked one more act - death. I trust Cirq to create quite an experience for that.

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation.

Copyright (C) 2000. 
Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  For more reviews visit:

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