U2 3D (Catherine Owens & Mark Pellington, 2007)

Reviewed by William Conlin. Viewed at the AMC Empire 25 Theater in New York City.

Last year I took a short vacation to New York where I had the opportunity to see an absolutely amazing concert film. Normally, I wouldn’t review a film from so long ago but since St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, I felt it appropriate to take a look at Ireland’s greatest rock band and the film that revolutionized the “concert film” genre.

In U2 3D the viewer is treated to a concert during the 2006 U2 Vertigo Tour. Pieced together from seven tour dates in South America, the film gives you the band at their best and awes the viewer in the concert’s sheer size and scope. Using revolutionary “3ality Digital” technology, the film makes the band come at the viewer as if he or she were standing at the base of the stage.

I have always been a huge fan of 3D films and even through I can tolerate them better than most people, I have grown tired of the classic “red/blue” glasses from the 1950’s. So it was a special treat for me when I got to use the new polarized glasses to view this film. These glasses don’t give you a headache and merely give the illusion of wearing sunglasses.

Performance wise, U2 is, as always, one of the greatest bands on the planet. Although Bono can sometimes be a little pretentious, his ability to entertain trumps all others and the 20,000+ people who attended each concert follow him as if he were a deity. The band continues to promote social equality and at one point recites the UN Declaration of Rights, harkening back to the days of 1985’s Live Aid and 2005’s Live 8.

Since the release of U2 3D, teen pop stars such as Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers have also released 3D concert films. Though I don’t have a problem with them doing this, I hope it doesn’t discourage serious bands from doing the same as U2. 3D concert films give us the opportunity to see many concerts we would normally miss and will preserve them for future generations. Though it is no longer in wide release, if you get a chance to see U2 3D it is well worth the slightly elevated price of admission. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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