The stunts were great, but nothing
like being there. The frame of the boy growing into a man,
however, didn't work, and some of the effects were poorly done, as well.
The boy was there to connect all the images, but I'm not sure they
The best part of the whole show was the opening. The drum
beating, and the native sounds were spectacular. It was terrific
just to be subjected to the sounds. And that was when the boy was
The infant grows into a boy in the ocean, where some impressive
swimmers do underwater synchro. I wonder how many takes it required
to keep their breath held all that time. But only the best are selected
for the Cirque.
Moving on, the boy is ejected (in a neat sequence) from the ocean
into the jungle. There he grows a little more, and encounters his
childhood guardians, his imaginary friends. The trapeze artists appear,
and they are probably my next favorite part. The directing here was
really good. Different views showed us how they looked from all angles,
something not possible on the stage. They pull the boy up and fling
him into the desert mountains.
There, he is a young teen, and he is in awe of a man who can
juggle a giant cube made of bars. The lighting is such that it looks
like the cube is moving faster than he could possibly keep up with.
It is impressive, nonetheless. I don't know if this was intentional,
but when the juggler takes to the sky, the cable that holds him is readily
On to a pond in the middle of a field of trees, where two marble
statues perform incredible acts. The makeup here was superb, as they
looked completely marble. They held each other up, and molded into
each others' bodies. It all took place in what seemed like slow motion,
and drew a great reaction.
That's when the boy decides he must own so many works of art.
I thought he would have the statues in his mansion, but I didn't see them
anywhere in the next sequence.
A group of ragged street performers burst into his massive halls,
which are glittered in gold and jewels. He shuns them at first, but
then begins to enjoy himself. As usual, the performers were great.
I know their stunts are not effects, because I've seen similar things done
on stage. Masters at their craft.
And the little girl shows him what his childhood was like, and
he renounces his riches, and embraces the circus. His childhood imaginary
friends reappear, along with his teddy bear.
All throughout, the special effects didn't seem to work properly.
Cables were visible, and sets looked like sets. That is not a problem
with normal circus acts, but when the movie is taking itself as seriously
as this one was, it makes a difference. The empathy with the character
is lost. And at the end, the lip synching was terrible. It
just occurred to me that perhaps the original version was done in French.
That would explain the lips.
But I must go out on a high note. Each and every one of
the performers were mesmerizing. The acts were spectacular.
They were all on cue (except for one of the trapeze artists, and perhaps
one or two swimmers), and did their stunts with what appeared to be much
ease. I want to go see the real thing now!