“Hola!” Bono yells, gyrating his twelve-foot wide crotch into each and every member of the audience. “I’m at a place called vertigo!” Normally, the sight of a gargantuan, six-story-high Bono would frighten masses into an apocalyptic frenzy, but not this time. Inside the Navy Pier IMAX theater, Bono is a friendly giant, a scruffy Irishman whose beard you can almost touch in the new “U2-3D” movie, an eighty-five-minute concert in front of a pumped-up, occasionally shirtless Buenos Aires crowd. On the other side of the hemisphere, a smaller and more awkward crowd packs into the theater with over-the-top, Harry Caray-sized 3D glasses ready. (One wonders why the studio couldn’t have supplied Bono’s signature line of 3D glasses.)
The 3D and the surround sound may temporarily create the feeling of actually being in the front row of a U2 concert, but that’s only if you can ignore the fact that no one around you is dancing or cheering or even singing along, all essential concert-going experiences. If, say, someone in the theater would light up a joint, then that’d be another story.
Most of the film relies on the epic spectacle transpiring in Buenos Aires, with giant, pixilated screens displaying the band members (mostly so people can behold four Bonos at the same time), until the finale, when thousands of computer-generated, “Yellow Submarine”-like letters crash into the moviegoer’s laps, providing a barrage of mind-numbing visual stimuli. Who knows what subliminal message may have been transmitted? (“Buy four copies of ‘Zooropa.'”)
“Could anyone else pull off a 3D concert other than U2?” someone asks as they leave the theater, not realizing that—with few exceptions—most bands tend to perform in 3D. (Andy Seifert)