Wednesday, January 30, 2008

U2 in 3D

I haven't seen the same movie twice at the theatre since my Grade 6 Ninja Turtles craze but tomorrow I'm going to see U2 3D for the second time.

Admittedly, I've been lax about keeping up with my U2 news so this film came out of nowhere for me. This is a 3D IMAX concert film of U2's 2005 Vertigo tour - "the world's first live-action 3D movie". The experience really is just like being in the front row at the show (and I would know). It felt strange be sitting during the screening and I couldn't prevent myself from cheering and singing along. But there are certain aspects that are superior even to the live experience. The shots of the masses of fans are astonishing. Reaching out to grab Bono's hand, ducking from a spinning microphone stand, the animations... the 3D effect provided by those bug-eyed The Fly glasses is so much fun. The music is flawless but the playlist sticks closely to the band's Greatest Hits, which means that many of my favourite songs weren't included. Bono filling in for Pavoratti in Miss Sarajevo was my favourite moment of the movie (listen to a version of it below). After reading Bono's "lard-arse" comment, I was expecting the extreme 3D close-ups of the middle-aged rockers to be too much to take, but it wasn't so bad after all.

It amuses me that U2 3D was distributed by National Geographic - it makes the film seem even more like a cultural archive. I only wish there was such documentation of the band during earlier periods, the ZooTV tour and the Joshua Tree tour in particular.

Would this film interest anyone who isn't a U2 superfan? I checked out a few review pages and it looks like critics, lovers and haters alike, think U2 3D is "revolutionary", "iconic", "vibrant", "exuberant"... If you're a U2 fan and you've never seen a live show, see this movie. If you're a U2 fan who has seen a live show, see this movie. If you like live music at all, see this movie. U2 is by no means the most original band around, but they are the most passionate and this is what makes their performances so exhilarating.

January 31st is the last day for the IMAX version of U2 3D in Toronto but it will return on February 15th to a somewhat less impressive screen size.

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