My $200 Epiphone SG
Jonathan Coulton: Geek Rock

U2 3D --No House of Pancakes!


Ok guitar fans: Ever wish you could be the Edge rocking on stage with Bono and getting all the girls? Well, that's not gonna happen.

But on February 22nd you have a shot at the next best thing: U2 3D, the greatest live rock movie ever, opens at theatres all over the country.

So forget about another Friday night playing Guitar Hero and get down to see this movie before it's gone.  And since most women dig Bono, you probably have a shot at getting a date. Just don't tell her about the 3-D bit til you get there. The movie opened at Cannes and Sundance to positive reviews, so who knows, maybe you'll even get lucky.   

Here's the scoop: U2 is one helluva band, right? And they do a fantastic live show. Even the whingers who hate Bono agree on this. So figure this: How well do you think U2 performs at packed stadiums in Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Santiago? El-Rocko-Numero-Uno, that's how good.  This movie rocks from the opening countdown and jump of Vertigo ("Uno, dos, tres, quatorze") through 14 songs from various eras of U2, including cuts from classic albums like War and The Joshuah Tree. 


My pal Sid and I saw this show a couple weeks ago at an Imax theatre in Toronto and the concert footage is awsome. Not only that, the whole thing is in 3-D. Yes, you gotta wear the special sunglasses, but it was an absolute blast. And we weren't even loaded, at least for the start of the movie.

How good is the 3-D? Straight-up this was the best entertainment I'd seen in months if not years. The detail was stunning. The images clear. The 3-D was realistic without being cheezy. No House-of-Pancakes monster horror chiller effects. And no headaches from the glasses. Just a great set clocking in at 85 minutes in full Dolby 5.1 surround sound.  And the band is well-choreographed and tight. 

I can't say it was like being at a live rock show because you get access to many different angles and views of the action much like a camera-man at a concert. Sometimes you're in the audience, sometimes you're on stage, sometimes you're in the sky-cam. But the views are always interesting and the band makes it compelling to watch.  It's clearly Bono's show --he's one of the most charismatic rock stars in the last 25 years --but there's also plenty of good footage of Adam Clayton on Bass, Larry Mullins on drums and the Edge performing his classic harmonics and leads. 

But this is not a simulation of a live rock show either. It was not the same as, say, the time I was at Aerosmith on the ground floor front row. And it's not really a regular movie because there are no documentary angles, no backstage interviews or other distractions. It actually seems like U2 and the movie producers, 3ality Digital, have created a new kind of entertainment.

When Adam Clayton swings his bass towards you during New Years' Day, its a freakout. And when Bono reaches out as if to touch the audience during Sunday Bloody Sunday, it seemed as if every member of the audience was capitivated.  But the truth is these 3-D moments are generally few and most of the effects are subtle. What you get to witness instead is a solid set of songs with great musicianship, big impact visuals and awsome sound. Add in 50,000 screaming Argentinians and it's easy to go along with the crowd. The movie captures the intensity and if I'm not going too far, even the spiritual power of a  U2 concert.  Bono, after all, is a consumate preacher, championing for peace, for human rights and for co-existance. 

You don't have to be a huge U2 fan to appreciate this show. But either way, you'll be a bigger fan after.   

You can also view previews on YouTube, though obviously they are not in 3D.  Also, a non-3D version of the Vertigo tour was recorded in Chicago was released previously on DVD as U2 Vertigo 2005.  Because this is a limited engagement, I suspect many showings will sell out.  So don't wait.  Book your tickets in advance on Fandango.

Shortage of 3D Theaters?

Note that there's starting to be a national shortage of 3-D cinemas which is creating problems for competing films, according to the Wall Street Journal. Look for more cinemas to convert to 3-D as every major Hollywood studio launches 3-D titles within the next year.   But while U2 plays it subtle in 3-D, some movie makers will dip heavily into the cheap effects possible with the technology. Disney's Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Tour features a barrage of gimmicky shots that may leave you reaching for the Tylenol.  There's some interesting behind the scenes articles and photos at StudioDaily.


Ever seen a real band?

There is none better than U2 --- Either to watch or to listen to or to work for.

Sure, I saw U2 live in 2001 and it was great.


Well, I haven't and I know I wish seeing them live here

The comments to this entry are closed.