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NYT Review of "U2 3D"

U2 3D (2007)
January 23, 2008
More Than Rock ’n’ Roll: U2 on Tour in 3-D Images
Published: January 23, 2008

The musical documentary “U2 3D,” which stitches together three performances by this Irish rock band during a recent tour of South America, is not merely a technical landmark — shot entirely in digital 3D — but also an aesthetic one, in that it’s the first Imax movie that deserves to be called a work of art.

The person most responsible for the film’s vision, Catherine Owens — one of the movie’s two directors, who is also in charge of production design for the band’s live shows — has brazenly ignored the usual stipulations about making a 3-D film. She favors quick edits and slow dissolves rather than long takes and hard cuts. Throughout, she layers the screen with multiple planes of information: long shots and medium shots of the musicians, images of the crowd, close-up details of graphics from the big screen that the band performs in front of that make the designs abstract and merge them with the performers.

The result is not a confusing mishmash of images but a musical/experimental work that visually simulates the sensation of thinking. The very idea of self-contained screen geography is thrillingly reconceived.

The style of the film dovetails with the international, humanistic vision that U2 has presented in songs and public statements for more than 20 years. When the band performs its hit “One,” the lyrics take on new meaning.

U2 3D

Opens on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles.

Directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington; director of photography, Tom Krueger, director of 3-D photography, Peter Anderson; edited by Olivier Wicki; music by U2 (Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.); 3-D and digital image producer, Steve Schklair; produced by Jon Shapiro, Peter Shapiro, John Modell and Ms. Owens; released by National Geographic Entertainment and 3ality Digital. In Manhattan at the Loew’s Imax Theater at Lincoln Square, 1998 Broadway, at 68th Street. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes. This film is rated G.

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