"Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D": Bring on the Acrobats

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Written and directed by Andrew AdamsonParamount PicturesRated PG. Opens Friday.

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The ravishing and kitschy Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away is the rare movie whose title serves as an accurate indicator of whether you would enjoy seeing it. If you think it sounds good, it damn straight is; if not, beware — this has all the trapezing harlequins you fear. The aesthetic is circus meets Ovid meets Busby Berkeley. Against a dreamscape of horizon-wide curtains and stagecraft marvels like a swimming pool that can become the moon itself, a squad of contortionists, acrobats, and the like leap and soar and transform themselves into impossible things — in their skintight finery, they achieve everything movie superheroes do, in the requisite (but impressive) 3-D. Director Andrew Adamson offers acts from seven Cirque shows; the best here are the simplest, where the eye can follow each body's flouting of the rules of gravity or bone structure. Several carnivalesque numbers are muddled to annoyance. When a riot of Yellow Submarine-looking characters, including an apparent Klansman and Dr. Evil, aimlessly mill about to "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," the effect is like watching a sinister Ice Capades. Much better is the trampoline thrills of Viva ELVIS, where the King's earthy music grounds the scenario — but not the leapers. Aerialists Erica Kathleen Linz and Igor Zaripov star in a goofy framing story about a young woman who visits a traveling carnival only to get sucked in Cirque world. Like the movie, that beats the Vegas ticket price.

 
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