Just when you thought Bono's head couldn't get any bigger ...
That joke pretty much wrote itself going into "U2 3D," and so does any concert movie by the Irish megaband. Not only is U2 consistently rock's best act at electrifying arenas and stadiums (sorry, Bruce; forget about it, Stones), it also always invents dazzling visuals for its tours that make for prime film fodder.
"U2 3D" doesn't get in the way of any of that. Even as U2's most ambitious film project since 1988's "Rattle and Hum," it's still little more than 85 minutes of concert footage -- albeit super hi-fi, three-dimensional footage that looks so crisp and clear you half-expect to see your own reflection in Bono's fly glasses.
Shot over several South American stops on the last leg of the band's 2005-2006 "Vertigo" tour, the movie might seem a bit stale to dedicated fans. We saw this tour in Minneapolis more than two years ago. By comparison, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus' 3-D movie will hit theaters Feb. 1, just three months after she performed here (the difference: U2's Imax entry was far more technically demanding; plus, let's face it, U2 is ageless, and any Cyrus movie would probably go straight to video in two years).
The wait pays off, though, in the film's genuinely high-grade digital video/audio quality. Closeups of Bono passionately delivering "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" are as impressive as wide-angle shots that show an entire soccer (or fútbol) stadium exploding to "Vertigo" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." A few clever enhancements also help pull the onstage visual effects onscreen.
"U2 3D" doesn't make you feel like you're there in the crowd. It makes you feel like you're floating above the fans and riding their energy wave like a surfer during hurricane season. Aside from when he walks on water, it's probably as close as we'll ever get to feeling what Bono feels.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658