Saturday, April 12, 2008

U2 in 3D

Last night I went to see U2 3D at the Cineplex. Its an IMAX movie that goes far beyond what you can usually expect. I have never enjoyed previous 3D media. It never quite seemed real. Yet, U2 have partnered with 3eality and National Geographic to produce a stunning (awesome was the word I had on my lips as I exited the theatre) digital three-dimensional experience. You can go here to read more about it from the producers. Click on What is 3D for an explanation.

All I can say is that the way it has been filmed and edited you get the experience of not just being in the audience at their four big South American gigs, but you are with the band on the stage and above the stage...man, you have the best seat in the house. I was watching the crush of people at the stage barriers in these stadiums, and granted I wouldn't mind being anyone of those people enjoying U2 LIVE, but this film makes it possible to enjoy the band in no other way possible.

I read a review of the film prior to going, I think it was at Rotten Tomatoes, that included this paragraph, "
By the time Bono turns to the camera during a searing rendition of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," reaching out to his audience in a typically theatrical plea for peace, love and understanding, one half expects his outstretched hand to surge through the screen and seize one of your own." You know what the reviewer wasn't kidding (read the full review here). If I hadn't been in a room full of strangers I probably would have reached out my hand to grasp his.

The music is U2, and I had hard time to keeping my body still. There is a scene where hundreds of people are moshing, doing the pogo, and oh how I wanted to join them at that moment. I remember when version 1.0 came out with the Earthquake and other disaster movie back in the '70's. Technology has come a long way baby. The sound is played back in 5.1 Surround Sound with incredible clarity. I cannot imagine that you would have heard it so good live from any seat in the house.

The vintage concert films like The Last Waltz, Woodstock and even Paul Simon - Graceland (the African Concert) will always remain as classics. However, what the producers have done with U2 3D has risen the standard for this genre of movie. Perhaps for film period. To imagine Terminator II using this processing, especially in the freeway/motorcycle scenes where John Connor's cyborg protector (A. Schwarzenegger) is evading and fighting the Terminator. The violence and destruction would probably be too much for the average viewer as they are engulfed in the explosions and debris flying through the screen (and landing on top of the audience). Yet, Disney say that its future animation films will be shot in 3-D (Note: they already have begun, starting with Chicken Little in 2005, but few theatres were able to screen it). If Disney raises the bar, the other studios will be certain to follow. This progression I don't think will be able to follow through into the home markets. I have seen HD TV, but this goes beyond what HD is all about. I could be wrong.

And, yes I did have to wear glasses to watch the film. That's okay, so now I have my own personal pair when I go back and see it again.

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