04 February 2008
Mooney at the Movies: U2 3D
Talk about your elevation. (National Geographic)
U2 3D (A)
Starring Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
Directed by Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington
Allow me to get my song quoting out of the way now: U2 3D, a mind-blowing movie-going experience, is "even better than the real thing."
Filmed on the Latin American leg of their masterful, record-breaking Vertigo tour, this is not your dad's concert film, though your dad will probably enjoy it. There's no insight into what makes a band tick (like The Last Waltz), or onstage oddities (a la Stop Making Sense). It's simply 85 minutes of pure exhilaration.
All your favorites are here, from "With or Without You" to "Vertigo" to "Pride (In the Name of Love)." And while some numbers shine a bit more than others, you'll still wish you could leap to your feet and sing along.
See, that's what makes this excursion so fascinating: if you were one of the 150,000+ people at one of these stops, you have just one vantage point for the entire set. But with this film, you're on stage with the band, hovering above them, and standing in front of Bono as he "wipes your tears away" during "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
But beyond the eye-popping visuals of U2 3D is the top-notch sound. Adam Clayton's bass fades away as he retreats towards the drum kit and the Edge moves forward with his guitar. You can hear each instrument distinctly, yet they all blend flawlessly.
Take for example "Where the Streets Have No Name," arguably the group's best song. With that memorable intro, the camera pans out to the crowd, where everyone, and I mean everyone, is jumping up and down in unison. It'll make you want to run around that heart-shaped track the band had during their Super Bowl performance in '02. The simple sonic pleasure in these few minutes is much more impressive than any stunt in any action movie last year.
To deny yourself the joy of seeing U2 3D, is to deny yourself perhaps the best time you'll ever have as a fan of cinema or music. You owe it to yourself to find a theater playing it. It'll a "beautiful day" indeed.