Taking a quantum leap beyond all previous concert films, U2 3D, playing only on digital 3D and IMAX 3D screens here and abroad, delivers the band performing in various massive venues on the Latin America leg of their recent global “Vertigo” tour. Locations include Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, but are interwoven seamlessly into an 85-minute performance piece.
Not quite inducing “vertigo,” the innovative Fusion dual-strip 3D cameras glide across the elongated asymmetrical stages and around the stadiums as if rigged to large Steadicams. The 3D effect is amazing, alternatingly placing viewers with U2 onstage or smack in the middle of their enthusiastic audiences.
If groupies of old were “with the band,” the 3D here now allows filmgoers to hover intimately next to the band in performance or gaze at the stage right behind a row of fans wildly waving arms and snapping away on cell-phone cameras. There’s a pervasive kinetic energy to the goings-on, especially when the cameras travel with lead singer Bono as he covers a stage or when the gigantic lighting effects take over. The cameras perfectly capture these light shows, rendered all the more effective because, never abstract, they comprise beautiful imagery often embedded with U2’s politically charged messages. The multi-layered post-production effects are also surprisingly sharp and effective.
As for the performances, the band is surely at its rousing best. The set list of nearly a dozen songs includes such hits and back-catalog favorites as “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You” and “One. “
There are no swords, spears or monster appendages coming at us in this first live-action 3D digital production—just an occasional microphone, mic stand or outstretched guitar arm to tease. As befits its world-renowned group, U2 3D, with jaw-dropping visual and aural clarity, is unprecedented spectacle and immersion; it delivers rock ’n’ roll at its best and with a conscience.