Directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington
National Geographic Entertainment
Opens January 23
Three dimensions seem scarcely enough to contain the messianic impulses of the worlds hardest-rocking humanitarian aid project, and in this concert extravaganza U2 finally gets a format scaled to their ambitions: the four-story IMAX screen, with 3D technology tossed in to boot. Except for the eerie moment when Bono pleads Wipe your tears away directly into the cameraan unsettling gesture of simulated intimacydirectors Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington seldom use 3D to create the illusion of physical proximity: the filmmaking rarely synchs up with the innate tension and release in the songs (one reason: The directors favor dissolves, which look more impressive than cuts in 3D but dissipate excitement.) But the performances, culled from seven shows on the Vertigo tour from Mexico City to Buenos Aires, burn with the old unforgettable fire. The supernova choruses of Pride (In the Name of Love) and Sunday Bloody Sunday can still stand your hair on end, and the bandguitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and their ramparts-storming frontmanproves it doesnt need a giant lemon to dominate a stage. Oddly, the Hubbell Telescoping of the IMAX 3D somewhat diminishes the groups visual presence, as the format forces them to share the spotlight with every dust speck and heightened detail. (Hey, Mullens drummingwhoa, is that a Kleenex box?) The crowd scenes, though, are astonishing, even moving, in their egalitarian pinpoint clarity. Here band and audience are indivisiblewith visual proof that cell phones have officially replaced the lofted lighter.