$14.50 for a movie isn’t exactly cheap, in fact you can pick up a DVD at Best Buy for less. But a 3-D IMAX film billed as the first live-action movie shot, produced and exhibited solely in digital 3-D, $14.50 for a front-row concert seat is a deal. And if you’re a U2 fan and Bono’s inflated persona jumping into your Goobers doesn’t weird you out, than U2 3D is as good as it gets for 90 minutes.
Although U2 3D won’t reveal what lies under The Edge’s knit cap or if Adam Clayton is really as bored as he looks, the film sports rarely a dull moment. From the opener “Vertigo,” the biggest rock stars on the planet are made “bigger than life” through 3-D multi-camera live shoots and polarized 3-D glasses. Stage antics like Bono planting a kiss on Clayton’s lips or Bono giving a humanitarian speech, are otherwise give or take, it’s the technology that gives everyone the $500 front-row ticket, making U2 3D a nose-bleeders opportunity to feel the heat.
Filmed mostly during the fourth leg of the 2006 Vertigo tour in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, São Paulo, and Santiago, the live footage of 14 songs peaks during classic versions of “New Years Day,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride in the Name of Love.” Although these anthems are played every U2 show, the band delivers them with urgency and passion, which is why the Irish rockers continually remain relevant.
Unique moments from the Vertigo tour like Larry Mullen Jr. moving out to the center of the ellipse-shaped ramp, playing a floor tom and crash cymbal for the majority of “Love and Pearce or Else” or the South American audience singing along to the prophetic lines of “One,” are triumphant. As the cameras shift to The Edge, the viewer can closely witness his digital sound processing, delay effects and reverb that always allows U2 to sound larger than their four parts. And whne Bono ties on a white Samurai bandana with the Muslim crescent, the Star of David and the Christian cross arranged to help spell out a mysterious word that will appear on the massive video screens: “COEXISTA,” proving that the sun-glassed one is one of rock’s greatest showman.
Has a concert film ever been considered an excellent date film? Probably not, but U2 3D might be the next best thing after Six Flags. And it’s cool U2 did the film for experimentation and not for profit; hopefully U2 3D will pave the way for a new "front row" era of concert films.