5 review score The immense talent and spectacle in TORUK bring back the spirit of the Cirque for the 21st century audiences. And what makes this ultimately satisfying is the vast beauty of its total experience. Here, we step into the world that Cameron made for his newer audiences. Wowing us even further.
Apart from taking technical cinema to greater heights, roots and possibilities are the charm of James Cameron’s AVATAR in 2009. Pandora’s depth of culture, its own universes of histories, and its own course of time are cryptically earthly. But whatever’s behind Cameron’s camera remain to be a part of our limited imagination. That’s the consequence (or the blessing) of film. But it was more than enough at that time. Or so we thought.
Until Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT came along.
TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT expands the world of Pandora from Cameron’s selective frames — dilating a vast space and stretching the wonder of being in a blockbuster world that once enthralled us. Here, we don’t just see Pandora’s magic; we experience them first hand, allowing us to almost touch them and have the choice as to where to look and watch. And did I mention that we have Filipino artists in this touring production, too?
The last of the Anurai Clan details the adventures of the first Toruk Makto. When catastrophe loomed to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls that is essential to life on Pandora, two life-long friends Ralu and Entu from the Omaticaya tribe set out on a journey to search for the Toruk – a dragon-like creature that is fundamental to the Na’vi lore and culture to turn their destiny around. As the two young Na’vis embark on the quest, each realizes his own goal: one, is to explore the interconnectedness to one’s ethnicity, while the other taps on his own deep sense of purpose.
Writers Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon reignite age-old themes such as living harmoniously with other cultures while respecting diversity and finding the balance between establishing tradition and chasing after your own beliefs.
Lemieux and Pilon brings a story of conquest and brotherhood which is set some 3000 years prior to the events of Cameron’s story. Director of Creation Neilson Vignola narrates this archetypal journey, and we go along with his characters through a series of breathtaking lights and sounds. Musical directors Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard’s hypnotic score fly through a magnitude of emotions and trance, expanding Pandora’s cultural history even further.
Cirque du Soleil’s intricate lighting, placed some 20,000 square feet of floor space, takes the audiences through mountains, forests, deserts, and oceans. That, in itself, makes the experience vividly captivating. This is coupled with amazing props and ethnically exquisite costumes — thus, completing its vast set design with the varying worlds of Pandora and its own foley of elements.
Guillaume Paquin plays Entu, the thrill-seeking Na’vi lad who can’t wait to explore the adventures that lie ahead. Jeremiah Hughes is Ralu, the harmoniously disciplined friend to Entu. Both Paquin and and Hughes glide through Cirques vast stage with matchless ease, yet each depicting his own polarity with graceful rhythm and strength.
Sir Orly and I think that the best thing about this Asian premiere are the two Filipino artists who are part of this touring production. Puppeteer Rob Laqui and Head Coach Michael Ocampo are both Filipino raised artists who have been part of Cirque de Soleil’s past productions, are privileged to work for TORUK – THE LAST FLIGHT. That, in itself, is more than just a cherry on top.
The immense talent and spectacle in TORUK bring back the spirit of the Cirque for the 21st century audiences. And what makes this ultimately satisfying is the vast beauty of its total experience. Here, we step into the world that Cameron made for his newer audiences. Wowing us even further.
5 Stars out of 5!!!