I can still vaguely remember when 3D first came out. It was one of the most hyped events of my childhood. It was the future of film and television. The problem of course was that the technology wasn’t really ready, and no one really knew what to do with it. Sure, the first time we saw a hand reaching out to us in that monotone green we were blown away. We were sold on the 3D dream. But the dream died really quickly. We soon realised that the 3D movie, whilst it had the initial wow factor was a really dumb movie. The whole plot revolved around getting shots that worked in 3D and this killed the whole movie. Then there was the whole monotone colour aspect and who in their right mind would sit through a movie wearing silly read and green cardboard glasses. 3D was just a flash in the pan, a blip on the radar on the way to better sound and colour productions, CGI, surround sound and the multiplex experience. It was dead in the water. Rest in peace 3D.
How things have changed. I’ll freely admit I was a little sceptical, but being a film and tech junkie (as well as a U2 fan) how could I resist the opportunity to see the re-birth of 3D, especially seeing as Jeffrey Katzenberg claims 3D is the future of film.
The credibility factor of U2 being the ones to kick off the new 3D wave is of course, key to its success. If Bono and co believe that 3D can deliver, we have to believe.
So what exactly was U23D like? Well to start with, the wow factor kicks in immediately as the fuzzy picture comes on screen, then the obligatory pre-movie credits arrear, in mid-space, floating right in front of you, outside of the confines of the screen. There is audible appreciation from the audience. Being a seasoned movie reviewer I keep my emotions in check thinking ‘nice trick’ and silently wondering how this will translate when the band comes on stage.
‘Nice trick’ I soon discover is somewhat of an understatement. When the band comes on stage and start performing, they really do ‘come on stage’. It’s hard to convey the experience in a review, I can’t really rave about the story line, the plot twists, the subtext, because in reality, U23D is just a concert video.
Of course calling U23D ‘just a concert video’ is akin to calling Neil Armstrong’s ‘Small step’ for mankind ‘just a walk in the park.’
The closest I can probably get to explaining how fantastic the 3D experience was at the IMAX is to say that rather than the screen being an object to project a two dimensional film onto, it was a portal to another world. Instead of sitting back and enjoying the action, you were leaning forward into a three dimensional space. In fact it was so easy to get lost in the moment, that I had to stop myself from singing along at times, so real the whole event felt.
Of course, it will never replace the concert experience, but the beauty of film is that you get to be up close and personal in a whole different way. I mean, Bono reached out and touched me. Me. Bono reached out and touched me.
Well not quite, but it sure looked like it.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Duration: 85 mins.
Director: Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington.
Release Date: In Cinemas Now.