Upon first glance, one could be forgiven if U3-3D looked like a cheap ploy to place more money in the pockets of Ireland’s (if not the world's) favourite band / humanitarians / activists. I certainly held such reservations coming into the Sydney premiere of U2-3D at the IMAX theatre. It is not that I don’t like their music; far from it. I just could not see what could be accomplished with a 3-D screening of a rock concert. However, by the end of the show, not only was I thoroughly impressed with what I saw, but I was damn near ready to watch it all over again.
A combination of several shows shot during U2’S 2006 Vertigo tour of Latin America, U3-3D holds the distinction of using the most number of 3D camera’s on a single project, and it shows. This was not some run of the mill concert movie: this was an experience, and about as close as one could get to the real thing (which is a blessing, considering how expensive a concert ticket is these days.)
Co-directed by Mark Pellington (Arlington Rd.) and Catherine Owens, U2-3D succeeds in not relying on the cliché rock visuals which would accompany such a project. Instead, Pellington and Owens places the viewer in the thick of the concert action: this is a front row ticket unlike any other, as drop dropping visuals are backed by an excellent sound mix which enhanced the films realistic slant to such an effect that I could not help but sing along and stomp my feet as my oversized 3-D glasses jolt form side to side.
A lot of this, of course, is due to the excellent performance from U2, who deliver thirteen songs (including “Vertigo”, “New Year's Day”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “With Or Without You” and “One”) with undeniable clout and gusto. Hell, even drab material such as “Love and Peace or Else” come off as a winner. To truly appreciate U2-3D, it has to be seen at an IMAX theatre. Not to say that a viewing of the film at a conventional cinema would not warrant a satisfactory response, but watching three dimensional rock gods on a eight story high screen is something else altogether.