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Jahfin

U2-3D (Movie Review)

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http://www.newsobserver.com/105/story/897059.html

U2 Gets Even Bigger Than Life

***1/2

Cast: Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton and a cast of thousands

Directors: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington

Length: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Web site: www.U23Dmovie.com

By David Menconi, Staff Writer

Given the band's obvious megalomania, it's impossible to consider U2 without asking: Could any group of people possibly take themselves any more seriously? And the self-consciously arty beginning of "U2 3D," U2's new 3-D concert movie, bears that out. Indistinct voices repeatedly murmur the word "everyone" as murky lights appear, finally turning into washed-out shots of people rushing about.

But then the band finally appears and goes rampaging through the aptly named show-owner "Vertigo," and the four pretty much run roughshod over whatever level of snark you've managed to work up. "Overwhelming" doesn't begin to do this movie justice.

Even if you've seen "Rattle and Hum" or "U2 Go Home" -- even if you've been on the front row of a U2 concert -- you've never experienced anything quite like this, which is the "Lawrence of Arabia" of concert movies. The massive sonic grandeur comes at you in a rush, wave after wave of it, which is remarkable when you consider that this ginormous sound comes from just four guys playing.

"U2 3D" was shot at four stadium shows in South America, where U2 played for adoring and beautiful throngs in 2006 at the end of its "Vertigo" tour. But the project's wild card is a performance the band gave for just the cameras, to add close-ups that make you feel as if you're standing onstage with the band.

U2's recent period accounts for much of the 13-song set list, including "Beautiful Day," "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" and "Love and Peace or Else." Of course, there's lots and lots of evangelizing. The latter reaches a peak of heavy-handedness with "Miss Sarajevo," which concludes with a partial recitation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights in heavily accented English.

But just as your eyes are about to glaze over, the Martin Luther King Jr. tribute "Pride (In the Name of Love)" kicks in and the day is saved. Also hitting majestic notes are "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "New Year's Day," especially the latter with The Edge doubling on piano and guitar -- and peeling off a guitar solo that is still among the most perfect in the classic-rock canon. Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton also get plenty of close-up time.

Still, this is ultimately Bono's show. He'd be the first to admit he has a rather severe messiah complex. But he takes such obvious delight in whipping up the crowd that you can't help getting caught up in his rush. By the end of "Pride," he's practically cackling with glee at the delirium he and his mates have wrought. Rock 'n' roll truly saved Bono's life, because you simply can't imagine the guy doing anything else. If nothing else, it's inspirational to see someone who has embraced his life and times and calling in fulfilling his destiny.

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Saw it tonight. Meh. Here's my review.

Visuals: 3.5 of 10 -- Too dizzying. 3D didn't match up in a lot of places and too many blurred effects that don't work with a 3D flick. Shots with crowd low on the screen were the main culprits. Shot too much like a normal concert film -- hated the quick 3- or 4-second cuts when you need at least a half-second to a second to adjust your eyes with the 3D glasses. The best part -- the first encore with The Fly -- was phenomenal and only made me angry they didn't use more of those ZooTV-type graphical elements to add a lot more depth to it than they did. Also, the drawings used in the end credits were the coolest elements -- why not use more of those, guys? Bono was, however, right in my face at one point...about as close as I'll ever get to smacking the smug self-righteous look off his face.

Music: 6.5 of 10 -- Performance was decent. The band is very loose and on for this show. Clayton and Mullin Jr. are perhaps the most underrated rhythm section in rock because of the star power out front. But they had to down-tune a bunch of songs a half-step to a full-step because Bono's voice is shot (hence why he is buried in the mix) -- namely New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride and Where the Streets Have No Name. They worked musically in a lower register, but it lost Bono's urgency as opposed to how the Zep stuff did with Plant. Edge sang a lot more background vox to cover that up, and his were more up-front than Bono's at times to mask Bono's issues. I wonder how much they cleaned up Bono digitally with Pro Tools because I can hear moments where he is cracking considerably.

Volume/mix: 8 of 10 -- I thought it was quite loud enough and pretty full and vibrant, echoing in different channels and giving you a full 360 concert feel while not pushing any one instrument too far up front. Much better than TSRTS, which I recently saw in the theater. There was enough crowd at the right points -- particularly the chants Bono would initiate in certain songs. As I said, Bono was a little low in the mix for aesthetic purposes. Was a little disappointed that Bullet the Blue Sky didn't have that left-to-right effect used in the studio with Edge's divebomb runs.

Overall: 5 of 10 -- It had me thinking this would have been better as a straight concert film. The Fly, however, left me feeling like if they would have done this 10-15 years ago, on the ZooTV or PopMart tour, it could have been absolutely mind-blowing and innovative. If they were to somehow whip one up with footage from back then, I'd go in a heartbeat

Edited by solar

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Thanks for the review. This is playing at a local IMAX theatre so I'm entertaining the thought of going, especially since I haven't seen any of those kinds of movies before. I have seen 3-D but it was many, many years ago and didn't really achieve the 3-D effect as promised.

As for U2 concerts films I'll readily admit to not having seen them all (or even seeing them in concert) but it'd be hard to top Under A Blood Red Sky. Someday I hope to finally make it to Red Rocks. I had a chance to see the Grateful Dead there way back in '79 but was unable to attend.

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Thanks for the review. This is playing at a local IMAX theatre so I'm entertaining the thought of going, especially since I haven't seen any of those kinds of movies before. I have seen 3-D but it was many, many years ago and didn't really achieve the 3-D effect as promised.

As for U2 concerts films I'll readily admit to not having seen them all (or even seeing them in concert) but it'd be hard to top Under A Blood Red Sky. Someday I hope to finally make it to Red Rocks. I had a chance to see the Grateful Dead there way back in '79 but was unable to attend.

I'm not sure, but I know it was playing here today only. Not sure if that's the actual run of it, or if it was only in this theater.

It's worth going to, if only because it's interesting in IMAX 3D. Those glasses have come a long way from cardboard with blue and red celophane!

And I'm totally with you on Red Rocks. That's a must-see venue for me.

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I'm not sure, but I know it was playing here today only. Not sure if that's the actual run of it, or if it was only in this theater.

Thanks but I wasn't really asking a question. There was a blurb accompanying the above review I posted that said it's playing at a local IMAX theatre through April 24th so I should have ample opportunity to see it.

Edited by Jahfin

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Thanks but I wasn't really asking a question. There was a blurb accompanying the above review I posted that said it's playing at a local IMAX theatre through April 24th so I should have ample opportunity to see it.

Ahh, didn't click onto the N-O site, just read the review on here. Someone on another board I belong to said they were going to see it here Friday, to which I had to let them know it was a one-day-only deal here. Carry on then, it's worth seeing. Let us know your thoughts when you do go.

Edited by solar

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I'm so pissed off this is not playing in my area.

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Yeah well, all cool and fancy shit, but where the hell's that Red Rocks DVD??? :huh:

That would be nice, seems they've reissued all the more recent stuff on DVD but not that.

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