Friday, March 21, 2008

U2 3D OMFG, or Why I Love Bono and The Edge

I don't know what I can add to everything being written about this groundbreaking experience, but I have to express something. Maybe that's the truest expression of what happened in that theater- I now feel the stomach-churning adrenaline-fueled need to write, run, draw, make out with someone, walk around Central Park, hug a homeless person...

I don't like gimmicks. I don't like cheap tricks, or movies that aim low. I was worried this would be a concert film with half-assed 3D tacked on to make the film seem more relevant than it is... Oh, so naive.

The 3D effect carries you into, above, around and inside this concert seemlessly, to the point where you are the camera. You can touch Bono, make eye contact with the stunning Argentinian girl on her boyfriend's shoulders ten feet away, you can rock back and forth with the 100,000 joyous fans, and you can do it in what feels like the exact moment it's actually happening.

But the visuals are no gimmick. If this was Linkin Park or worse, Madonna, the 3D would serve to distract you from the content (or lack thereof). It would be the bright, shiny object they flash at you to take your eyes off the vast hollowness of the product. In U2 3D, however, there is a completely different dynamic at play.

U2's light/stage show is designed to integrate with the content of their music, which, like them or not, you have to admit is rich. Pop/Rock about religious and ethnic unity never before moved a crowd the way Bono does. But how do you craft a visually stunning story to play 80 feet tall behind songs like, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," "New Years Day" and "Where the Streets Have No Name"? I don't want to give anything away, but the basic focus is on religious and international unity, people seeking it, imagery of loneliness, togetherness and peace...

So where does the 3D come in? The language of U2 is that of grand concepts. Like their sound and their light/stage show, the single clearest projection in lyrics and concept is Grandness. Some of the grandest concepts are the simplest- peace, unity, forgiveness- and the hardest to obtain.

When the sound, the lyrics, the light/stage show all come together, the only thing that could possibly add to the grandness of the experience is if they all breaks through the 4th wall together, smashing through and defeating the accepted truth that performers are separated from us (in 3D, they're not).

In other words, the U2 3D experience says technology can break through accepted truths and help lift us toward grander truths, like every human's right to dignity and every human's ability to create the peace most strive for. By pulling us into the concert, U2 3D also says that we can break through as well.

It sure sounds like I'm reading a lot into a tech-heavy concert film. So, if you don't believe me, go see for yourself. Please.