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Review: U2 3D

What’s the point of U2 3D beyond simulating a front-row view of one of the band’s concerts?

U2 3D
Photo: National Geographic Entertainment

The greatest frat-jock pop-rock band of my generation, U2 is now the subject of the first live-action 3D concert movie, directed by Catherine Owens and music video vet Mark Pellington, who helmed the famous “buffalo version” of the band’s “One” clip back in 1991. On the Argentinean leg of the Vertigo Tour, spiraled cartoon-phallic platforms jut from the stage, from which Bono and Adam Clayton strut and jam, handily providing layers of information for the digital 3D camera to project in more than two dimensions. The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr. mostly chill in the background while the bopping crowd adopts the rhythm of a wave, their hands and digital-era toys popping off the screen, most thrillingly during the performance of “One,” throughout which a collage of South American flags are rear-projected above the stage. Anyone who owns Rattle and Hum knows that U2 is a great live act, but what’s the point of U2 3D beyond simulating a front-row view of one of their concerts? You can almost feel Bono’s hand on your cheek, but unlike Madonna’s recent tours, this concert doesn’t exactly lend itself to complex semiotic readings. Mostly a showcase for U2’s litany of hits bad (“Vertigo”) and good (“New Year’s Day,” “Where the Streets Have No Name”), the film foregrounds the do-gooder Bono’s massive-sized ego: During “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” the bandana on his head attempts an address of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the singer yanks it down over his eyes and contorts his way through “Bullet the Blue Sky.” The horrors of terrorism and globalization are alluded to, though no mention is made of the 3D glasses—“assembled in Taiwan”—that make the viewing of the film possible.

Cast: Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr. Director: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington Distributor: National Geographic Entertainment Running Time: 85 min Rating: G Year: 2007

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