March 5, 2008 -- I had hoped to see this movie in Cheyenne, but it came and went so fast that I missed it. I guess U2 is not as popular as Hanna Montana, whose 3D concert show played in Cheyenne for what seemed to be months. Nationally, the Hanna Montana show grossed more than a dozen times more money than the U2 3D concert show. For one thing, the ticket price was higher for Hanna Montana. I was pleased that the ticket price for U2 3D was the same as for any other show at the Carmike 10 theater in Fort Collins. They didn't even charge extra for the polarized glasses, as they did for “Meet the Robinsons.”
The show itself seemed like a single concert, but in the credits it looked like the filmmakers must have shot footage at seven different shows and edited them together to make it look like a single concert performance. Locations for filming include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The crowds at these concerts on the band's “Vertigo” tour were huge. Some of the more effective 3D shots were at crowd level. When the people in the crowd lifted their arms, it looked like people in the movie theater were doing this, but it was really just the crowd on the screen. Another nice effect was the long guitar neck of the bass guitarist, Adam Clayton. When Clayton turned in the right direction in relation to the 3D camera, that guitar neck seemed to reach right into the movie theater.
There were also some other nice effects, a rain of letters, seemingly superimposed on a level in front of the concert, and the outline of a television set and control knob that Bono seemed to draw into thin air with his finger. In another sequence, a sort of digitized image of Bono from one of the big TV screens in the concert was blended into the concert footage, so that the rest of the band looked normal, but Bono looked strangely pixelized. Other than those peculiar effects, the film was a lot like being in the front row of a U2 concert without the heat, humidity and smell of the mosh pit. It looked like the cinematographers used available light. Spidercams were used to get some good up close shots of the band in concert. Sometimes the band was entirely backlit. The playlist includes both big hits and U2 songs that are not as well known. Here is the set list, “Vertigo,” “Beautiful Day,” “New Year's Day,” “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own,” “Love and Peace or Else,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “Miss Sarajevo/Reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “One,” “The Fly,” “With or Without You” and “Yahweh.”
U2's reputation as the most socially conscious major act around is upheld in the film. Through music and visual imagery, the band advocates understanding, peace and coexistence as well as love. While other bands talk this talk, U2 seems to be singular in its pursuit of improving the world. It is a band apart, both in terms of music and message. Although the film is technically proficient, it seems to lack the power and passion of other concert films like U2's “Rattle and Hum,” The Band's “The Last Waltz” and “Neil Young: “Heart of Gold.” I saw this film in digital 3D, a process that uses a single digital projector. It is one of the best 3D rendering technologies. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.