Simply put, if you love U2 you will love this movie. Filmed at the beginning of 2006 in 7 different locations in South America, U2 3D is pure energy, bursting at the seams both musically and visually. Apart from actually being front row at a U2 concert, this is as good as it gets.
I’m not much of a concert goer, and films of concerts are even less appealing to me. Either I’m there live or I’m listening to the music on my iPod; watching the music on the screen feels tedious. Using 3D, however, is a brilliant stroke, transforming an ordinary concert movie into a spectacular event. At the risk of sounding corny, it feels like you’re really there. The most effective shots are the ones that include the audience in the foreground. They pop out of the screen, seemingly beside you, as Bono swaggers in the background and The Edge shreds his guitar. It’s hard to describe how transportational this really is: only my dignity kept me from standing up in the theater and screaming “Uno, dos, tres, catorce!” at the top of my lungs.
The music is, of course, magnificent. Current tracks Vertigo and Beautiful Day are represented, as well as immortal hits like Sunday Bloody Sunday and Pride. When the chorus for Beautiful Day crashed over the audience and the camera cut to a wide shot of the stadium, showing you how many people were actually there (easily 100,000+), chills went down my spine. At 85 minutes and 14 songs, the pacing is just right.
Directors Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington (Arlington Road) make special effort to keep U2’s message of peace and reconciliation intact. This is as close as U2 3D gets to an actual story. Bono wraps a white strip around his head with the word COEXIST written on it in rough black letters, the C a Muslim crescent, the X a star of David, and the T a Christian cross. Any other film would be guilty of preaching; here you just feel convicted of your own lazy selfishness.
According to Wikipedia, U2 is doing this for experimentation and not for profit, and U2 3Dwill not be released in 2D format, either to theaters or to home video. This means that if you want to experience this film, you have to see it immediately. You’d think I was being paid to shill this much, but it’s rare to have a film that can only be experienced in a theater. If you posses even an iota of interest in U2 you’d be foolish not to go.