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U2 3D
1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Mark Pellington, Catherine Owens

Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., The Edge

U2 3D (2008)
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Movie Review by Ben
February 3rd, 2008

"Can you handle Bono's ego in IMAX 3D?"

"U23D" takes the concert movie to a new technological level it has not previously been at before.

This particular film came about because both the band and their manager (Paul McGinnis) wanted to bring the audience more into the concert experience. Watching a concert in TV is a frustratingly passive experience most of the time. You can never get into the concerts to the same degree that the audience does, which makes you regret never having gone to a concert in the first place.

In "U23D," you are not just a passive viewer watching another concert film. You are right up front with the band to where you feel like you can touch them, you feel like you are in the crowd cheering them on, and you feel like you are floating above everything as the camera moves along the jam-packed stadium filled with screaming fans. The movie was filmed during the band's Vertigo tour, and this is made clear immediately as they launch into that very song. The film features a number of songs from their then current album, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," as well as a number of other classic hits that they are best known for.

After having seen "Beowulf" and "The Polar Express," I already know just how far the phenomenon of 3D has come. But the interesting thing here is that the band and the filmmakers (Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington) are not trying to wow us with effects as much as those films did. There are no showy moments where any of the band members are trying to play to the camera too much. I was expecting that from Bono more than anyone else, as he has a tendency to that in the majority of concerts to the point where he is practically wrestling the camera from its controller. But it becomes clear that what the filmmakers are trying to do is bring you into the concert experience with a view so close that you feel like you can touch the band members and smell the sweat that keeps pouring off of their skin.

There was a moment where it looks like hands in the small audience were going up, and I wanted to tell them to put them down so I could watch the movie in peace. Problem was, it wasn't the audience I was sitting with, it was the audience who were being filmed during the concert. That almost made me laugh. The effect here of sucking you right into the concert is so subtle that you almost don't notice it.

The concert where this movie was filmed was when they were playing in Buenos Aires, and the band plays to the crowd with such passion that makes you admire U2 even more. After so many years have passed since their very first album, they still play their hearts out, and it is more than clear that they are NOT sleeping their way through this set. A lot of their songs, especially the ones from "The Joshua Tree," were written for the specific time that they were released in. However, these songs have become timeless and could easily apply to the present day world we are struggling to survive in. That makes it clear why U2 is just as relevant today as they were when they first performed. Even with "Bullet The Blue Sky" they try to make it as relevant today as it was when it was first released. It's easy to see this with the Iraq war being as unpopular as it is, and with our eager desire to see our troops come sooner than later.

Among my favorite moments in the film are when they perform "Love And Peace Or Else," and it features drummer Larry Mullen Jr. pounding on a single drum on one part of the stage that extends out into the audience. At the last half of the song, Bono is pounding hard on the drum in a way that shows just how serious he is of having love and peace or else. He keeps pounding long after the song is over which is an exhilarating to witness because you are along with him exalting in the power that he appears to have over the audience.

The other major advantage you can have in seeing this movie, other than seeing it in 3D, is to see it in IMAX. On top of seeing this concert film on a HUGE screen, you also get to hear it on a more incredible than usual sound system that adds to the concert-like experience of this film. For those of you not comfortable with loud sounds, then it may be advisable for you to bring along some ear protection. This is always a good idea when you go to just about any concert.

The movie also has a beautiful look to it as it gives you such vivid reds and blues. Watching this makes you feel like you are really at the concert as opposed to just watching it passively. Watching it in some ways is intoxicating, just like a real concert can be.

"U23D" is not the best concert movie I have ever seen ("Stop Making Sense" with the Talking Heads still takes the cake), but it is certainly the most vivid. Unlike a lot of other bands, U2 is more than willing to embrace the advances of technology than others would appear to be. Here, they use the technology to their advantage and create a concert film like no other.

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Feb 18, 2008 3:47 AM
Aside from your apparent jealousy of Bono's talent and your lack of, it appears that you liked the film in spite of Bono. Unless you know someone personally, I would veer away from judging them based on your own limited perception.
Feb 18, 2008 4:01 AM
Hello Todd. The quote I used at the top of my review for this film was actually told to me by a friend at work. I included it in the review because I thought it was amusing, irregardless of whether or not I agree with it. Please feel free to check out my homepage where you can find a longer version of this review which includes the quote with more detail.

If you read my review closely, you will see that I never say anything bad about Bono, and that I hold no jealousy towards him. So for you to say that I liked the movie in spite of Bono is incorrect.

Also, in regards to your remark:

"Unless you know someone personally, I would veer away from judging them based on your own limited perception."

This is completely hypocritical coming from you considering that you don't know me personally at all. It is clear that you have limited perception of me from your comment, and basing my thoughts and feelings from what I wrote in this review is not advisable.

Feel free to speak your mind in regards to my reviews, but please don't stick your foot in your mouth when doing so.
Feb 18, 2008 1:59 PM
You're absolutely right, Ben. And I apologize for my remark wholeheartedly. But, I do feel that your comment about his ego was still inappropriate and unwarranted as well.
Feb 18, 2008 2:30 PM
Thanks Todd. I accept your apology, and I am sorry if you felt the ego quote I used was inappropriate. There's certainly nothing wrong with having an ego, and I am certainly not to blame Bono for his.

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