The ravishing and kitschy Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3-D is the rare movie whose title accurately indicates whether you'd 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 into Cirqueworld. Like the movie, that beats the Vegas ticket price.
A watery Cirque prelude.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3-D Opens Fri., Dec. 21 at Pacific Place and other theaters. Rated PG. 97 minutes.