Q: Can something be spectacular and boring at the same time?
A: If it's Cirque du Soleil on screen, most definitely. Assembled from a selection of their permanent shows at Las Vegas casinos, the film offers a revue-style box of tricks that have been inexpertly packaged into a narrative.
A gamine woman (Erica Linz) wandering into a circus is smitten by a daring young aerialist, whose sudden plunge from the trapeze takes her with him into a hallucinatory world of performance. One is soundtracked to the Beatles, another to Elvis; one looks like a really expensive mime on Flash Gordon, complete with Ming the Merciless.
There's no rhyme or reason to any of it, just a lot of elaborately costumed gymnasts showing off their athletic strength and bendiness. What might look awesome on stage is rendered merely distracting on screen – why show all the wirework that underlies the spectacle?
Even in 3D, it's a ponderous, synthetic and weirdly affectless experience.