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U2 3D - even better than the real thing?

29 March 2008

U23D is the first live action 3D Imax movie, and it captures the band in concert in Argentina on the Vertigo tour. After a dazzling few introductory minutes where the shots chopped and changed too quickly for my eyes to focus, the filming settled down and it was magical. You have access all areas: in the front row, on stage with the band and high above the crowd.

When you fly over the drumkit, it's clear enough to see the pulsating ripples in Larry's orange drink. When the camera flies back over the audience, you feel as if you're among them, watching Larry drum on one platform while Bono sings from another.

Pop video effects are used well, with shots fading into each other at different perspective levels. Mercifully, they've resisted the temptation to do too much 3D 'trickery'. There's an effective sequence where Bono reaches out his hand to you, and another at the end where the big-screen visuals fly in your face, but the effects help immerse you in the experience, rather than detracting from its realism, as is often the case with 3D films.

The 80-minute show draws on the band's whole back catalogue, including a surprise appearance of 'Miss Sarajevo', with Bono singing Pavarotti's lines brilliantly. The three songs from the band's most recent album 'How to dismantle an atomic bomb' were thrilling even though I didn't know them before seeing the film. My favourite U2 era of 'Achtung Baby' gets a good showing, but I surprised myself at how moved I was by some of the older stuff. I'd forgotten how much I liked songs like 'New Year's Day' and 'Pride' until the iconic riffs kicked in.

I saw the film in London at the BFI Imax, and it's running for another week there. I strongly recommend you go. Here's an official taster of what's on offer...

It's a bit late for Easter eggs, but when you get bored of that, maybe try clicking on the logo in the top left for three seconds..? U23D


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I'm a bit late responding to this post (been a bit busy) but I really enjoyed the U23D film even though I'm only a passing U2 listener. It was an incredible experience - the sound system in the Imax cinemas makes music shows worth going to. It was like being at the gig only more comfortable! I'd definitely go to more 3D music gigs.

There's a Rolling Stones film on there now - but I don't think it's not 3D and the trailer was very difficult to watch. The camera moved around too much and too quickly.
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