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Larger than life

Movies | High-tech film adds dimensions to U2 hits

Issue: "Our long war," March 8, 2008

Has a movie ever made you actually duck? In U2 3D, art and imagination team up with one of the world's most prolific rock bands in a stunning, 85-minute, three-dimensional concert film in which moviegoers are taken on a multi-sensory journey-within arm's reach of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.

Shot on the last leg of the Vertigo tour in South America, U2 3D is the first-ever, live-action movie entirely captured and edited using newly developed digital 3D processes. That means Clayton's driving bass not only powers most of the tracks, but also causes some in the movie audience to duck as his guitar neck comes off the screen.

Co-directed by longtime U2 associates Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington, the film weaves together footage from seven of the band's sold-out arena performances from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Concert arenas are not typically family-friendly environments, but the movie's G rating may have Gen Xers taking their children to local theaters, exposing them to the legendary band.

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During "Vertigo," the first track, Mullen's drumming takes on new depth as the overhead camera captures the sheer force and strength required to form the song's foundation. The Edge's ethereal guitar riffs fill the theater throughout "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)." In the middle of "Miss Sarajevo," a tribute to the war-torn Balkans, Bono performs a lyric originally recorded by the late Luciano Pavarotti with haunting precision.

U2's greatest hits have never looked or sounded so good.

David J. Sanders
David J. Sanders


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