UK release date: 23 January 2008

cast list
The Edge
Larry Mullen JR
Adam Clayton

directed by
Mark Pellington
Catherine Owens

U2 have frequently been given the title Greatest Rock Band in the World and have been turning out intelligent, emotive music for nigh on 30 years. Along they way they’ve given strong support to various causes, both environmental and humanitarian. Their one previous foray into film, however, was somewhat poor: although the musical performances in 1988’s concert documentary Rattle and Hum are brilliant, the overall pretentious nature is borderline vomit-inducing and lends the whole experience an unpleasant taste.

Two decades later and they’re trying again with something radically new for both them and for us. U2-3D is the worlds first live-action 3D film, to be released in IMAX cinemas equipped with the kind of sound system that can do justice to the rock concert experience. And thats all this film is about: its no Rattle and Hum Part II.

Shot during the South America part of the Vertigo tour in 2005, the 85-minute concert film has Bono and the boys tearing through a set of their greatest hits, from new classics such as film opener Vertigo and Sometimes You Cant Make It on Your Own to tried and true rock landmarks such as Sunday Bloody Sunday and Pride (In the Name of Love).

There are no backstage interviews to be had and Bono keeps his sermonizing to an effective minimum (a quickie speech about everyone co-existing during the performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday is pretty much it). What you see is what you get: U2 on stage, giving the fans what they want and doing so with an energy level that is second to none.

Theatrical presentation is what obviously sets U2: 3D apart from other concert films we have seen over the years. Directors Mark Pellington and Catherine Owens put the IMAX and digital 3-D formats to great use, with the large-screen format perfectly capturing the enormity of the concert arenas and the 3-D pulling viewers into events rather than distracting with cheap effects. The crystal-clear digital surround sound guarantees you wont miss a lyric or a beat: rest assured that the difficulties of recording good audio from a live performance have been overcome. The directors keep the film moving along at a breathless pace, making sure that the format, the 3-D gimmick nor the band themselves wear out their welcome.

U2: 3D was obviously made with the bands worldwide legions of fans in mind. But even if you are not the biggest fan of U2, chances are that you’ll still probably find the movie a very entertaining showcase of greatest hits presented in high cinematic style. If you were like me and found the ticket prices on the Vertigo tour to be a bit on the highway robbery side, this is the perfect opportunity to experience it without emptying your checking account. The experiment with format gives a great experience of being there in the moment and, best of all, you don’t have to worry about having anyone blocking your view of the stage.

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