Now Showing at: the Showcase in Springdale in a limited engagement.
Review by: Larry Thomas
Like most of us, you’ve no doubt been to a concert where your seats were way up high in the back, and everyone on stage looked like ants. And you’ve no doubt wondered what it would be like to sit in the front row, or better yet…right on the stage. The new concert film U2:3D presented in the IMAX format may assuage your burning curiosity.
Shot during the band’s southern hemisphere tour in several locations, U2:3D does exactly what a good concert film should do. It presents the music. No narration. No interviews. No historical footage. The cameras are there to record up close and personal the performance of this terrific Irish band doing what they do best, although there are some occasional animated graphics to enhance the experience.
U2 performs a tasty sampling of their output from over the past 30 years of performing together, and the songs run the gamut from “V” to “W.” That’s not as restrictive as it may sound. The film opens with their latest hit “Vertigo” and concludes, prior to a bonus song as the end credits roll, showcasing “With Or Without You.”
U2:3D also offers up a couple of “firsts.” It’s the first film release from fledgling distributor National Geographic Entertainment, and it’s the first live action film shot in Digital 3D. The effects are terrific, especially from within some of the crowd scenes, although Digital 3D still is not as sharp in focus and depth as either original 3D, or the real IMAX 3D. But, until technical upgrades come along, this will do just fine.
If you’re a fan of U2, this is a “must-see.” If you’re not a fan, you may be converted. Due to the limitations of the format, it’s only showing at Showcase Springdale, and with a very odd schedule: daily at 4:45 and 9:35 pm. Showing on a split schedule with the IMAX version of I Am Legend, it’s almost as if they’re hiding this, and trying to encourage you not to attend.
Another bummer is the sound. The recording is excellent, but likely Showcase is not anxious to risk sound bleed over to other auditoriums, so the volume is no louder than a regular film. Not that your eardrums should be shattered, but for a good concert film, the thump of the drums and the twang of the bass should be felt vibrating, at the very least, in the pit of your stomach. The roar of the crowd should engulf you like a tidal wave. And if you’re going to shell out $14 per ticket for a concert experience, it should sound like one.
When you step up to the box office, be sure to tell anyone who will listen that they should…as they say…CRANK IT UP!!!