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Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 01/24/2008

U2 3D: Even Better Than the Real Thing

By Jen Chaney

I am a major U2 fan and an unabashed admirer of Bono. But I will try to bring a measure of restraint to my assessment of "U2 3D," which opened yesterday at the Samuel C. Johnson Imax Theater at the Natural History Museum.

"U2 3D" IS THE MOST AWESOME THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE EVER!!

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But there is no question that it is technically amazing and unlike any concert film you have ever seen. Desson Thomson already filed a review in yesterday's Post, so today I bring you, in no particular order, a rundown of the thoughts I had while viewing "U2 3D."

"These 3D glasses do not look like Bono's Fly specs. This is disappointing. On the plus side, they are less goofy than the lime-green ones I got at 'Chicken Little 3D.'"

"The movie is starting. Holy crap, the opening titles are in super-3D! Is it possible to get poked in the eye by a font? Because I think it just happened."

"This screen is 66-feet-tall. I can still tell that Bono is short."

"Woah!! Bono is, like, in my face. And I don't just mean metaphorically in my face because he's always yapping about social issues. The man appears to be inches from the end of my nose, singing about a place called 'Vertigo.'"

"Okay, this movie is officially 800 times better than 'Chicken Little 3D.'"

"I have decided to refer to the in-my-face Bono as Hologram Bono. I expect that at some point during the movie he will say: 'Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.'"

"This 3D thing is unbelievable and I am in the mid- to lower- section of the theater. If I were in the front row, I could see through time."

"I can clearly read the pensive expression on Edge's face. Wonder what he's thinking about ... oh, no need to wonder. Thanks to the 3D, I can see through his skull cap and into his brain. Just as I suspected: 'Man, how come Bono never invites me to go to Africa?'"

"That dude four people back from the edge of the stage? I think he has the same cell phone I do."

"The sound quality is excellent. But I wouldn't mind if they cranked it a teeny bit louder. 'Cloverfield' must have permanently damaged my hearing."

"They're doing 'Sunday Bloody Sunday.' And Hologram Bono is not only in my face, he is looking right into my eyes. 'Wipe your tears away.' He is reaching toward my cheek. 'Wipe your tears away,' he sings again. My eyes are notably dry. I feel I have let down Hologram Bono."

"I always wondered what Larry Mullen Jr. keeps next to his drum kit. Now I know: A box of Kleenex and what appears to be a glass of Orangeade."

"Now that I can so clearly see Edge's chord changes, I am going to study what he does so that I can get better at 'Guitar Hero III' ... ah, who am I kidding? I still won't be able to make it through the most basic version of 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot.'"

"Wow, this is an amazing view of Bono singing 'Miss Sarajevo' to the crowd. Does this guy have the best job in the world or what? He comes to work and sings about beauty queens while looking out at a sea of glowing cell phones, all of them twinkling like distant stars. I mean, it may not be as good as being a Going Out Guru. But it's up there."

"It's official: 'Where the Streets Have No Name' is the greatest live song of all time. Okay, 'Born to Run' is a close second. But nothing -- NOTHING -- is better than that slow build in the beginning, then watching the entire crowd bounce in 3D."

"Oh no, I think the movie is almost over. This can't be happening. If I slip Adam Clayton a $20, would they do 'I Will Follow'? How about $50 for 'A Sort of Homecoming'? I really could slip him something. His pocket is RIGHT THERE."

"People in the theater are leaving. Idiots. Even the closing credits are worth watching. Note to self: Come see this movie again. Immediately."

By Jen Chaney  | January 24, 2008; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Comments

Hunh, sounds like I have one of my plans for the weekend made.

Posted by: EricS | January 24, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It was THE BEST concert movie I have ever seen. It was the best 3D movie I've ever seen. It was the best IMAX movie I've ever seen. It really is worth the hype people - go see it!! I left all feeling warm and fuzzy like we're all just one big global family.

Posted by: Washington DC | January 24, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh gosh. I am so in love. I wrote a similarly drooly (but less funny) review at my work blog:
http://ngm.typepad.com/pop_omnivore/2008/01/u2-on-the-reall.html

And I also *love* that you can see the stuff on Larry's little table.

I am so ready to see it again and again and again.

Posted by: helen | January 24, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Where is the "Oooops, I think I dropped my weed in between the seats" comment?

Posted by: Moyer | January 24, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I too found the experience amazing. I've seen U2 live seven times, one of which I was on the floor inside the heart, and two of which i was on the floor just outside the ellipse. The whole time I was watching U23D, I was thinking two things: 1). I didn't think it was possible to get closer that I was in real life, but DAMN. Bono's stubble just brushed up against me and 2). this is capturing the experience of being on the floor in a sea of people screaming their guts out and jumping in unison for 3 hours really well. I mean, really well. Except at the end, I was not covered in other people's sweat. Which is a nice bonus. I plan to go again and again and again.

Posted by: lee | January 24, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Best movie concert ever. It makes you feel not only a part of the crowd but also as part of the band.

Posted by: panchoyu2 | January 24, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"A Sort of Homecoming": And I thought I was the only human who really loves that song.

Posted by: Craig | January 24, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait, but alas I have too. It opens here in Feb. I've read so many good reviews and since I've never had the pleasure of having seen them live, this will be a chance of a lifetime (untill their next tour which I hope to catch.)
Great review, Thanks

Posted by: suzy | January 25, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I saw it last night in Nashville and still get goosebumps thinking about it.

Your post summed it up perfectly.

Mike

Posted by: chez beziat | January 25, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't seen it, GO! It is truly amazing. I've seen U2 live 8 times and it's hard not to say "9 times" now after seeing U23D, it just feels so real. I'm actually going to see it later tonight and then again in a few days. The anticipation to see this movie is just as strong as if I had real U2 concert tickets.

Posted by: Nick | January 26, 2008 4:41 AM | Report abuse

I was looking for the t-shirt stand to buy my souvenirs after the movie. I felt like I was REALLY at a concert.

Posted by: Michael Saiz | January 27, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

This concert combines the best rock band of our time with the best 3D technology ever created! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I think I've just seen the future of home theater.

Go see this concert film!

Hints:

1) Order your tickets a few days before the show - the showing I went to at the Museum of Natural History in DC sold out two days early.

2) Get there early to get the best seats. I got there at 2:45 for the 4:00 show on Sunday - once the line for "Sea Monsters 3D" filed in at 3:00, I was the first in line for U2 (reminded me of the old days before the internet when I used to camp out at the Ticket Master office in Hecht's to get the best concert tickets). People who got there on time ended up sitting on the very edges of the rows.

3) The lady who takes the tickets said the row of seats 2/3 of the way up was the best, so that's where I sat.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Erik | January 28, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me if February 2nd at 4pm is the last day to see this?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The Natural History Museum's IMAX Theater will show this film until Summer, if not longer.

Posted by: HM | January 30, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I`m so exiting I`m going to USA only to see the movie, I`ll go to Houston,U2 is the best band in the world, the movie comes to Mèxico until March, so I can`t wait to see it.
My first U2 concert was in 1992 with the Zoo TV in Mexico City, I saw the 4 concerts, after in the Popmart Tour in 1997 the 2 shows in Mexico City and then in Vertigo Tour in 2005 in Milàn and Roma and 2006 in Mèxico(of course the 3 shows, 2 in Monterrey and two in Mexico City=) and in December 9 in Honolulu Hawaii.I love U2.
See you U23D¡

Posted by: Angelica(Angie) | February 9, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable film. Hilarious review. (Orangeade - brilliant!)

Posted by: David | February 25, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

This has just hit the UK. Me and the Ganksta went to see this last night and I nearly wet my pants and not just because I forgot to go the toilet first.
It is amazing its like going to the best gig in the world and you get to go on stage. Only you can't scream, sing along too loud or clap at the end of the songs otherwise the people next to you look at you like you have gone mad and the guy at the door might throw you out.
This is brilliant and Bono's singing in Ms Sareavo of the Pavaroti part is amazing an shows that even a man like him has hidden talents.
I was touch I was moved and then I sat down in my seat and had a great night.

Thnx Gank

Posted by: SAM OPREY | February 28, 2008 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I was at the premiere of U23D at Sundance Film festival along with Robert Redford, Al Gore, Bono and the Edge. The audience was filled with serious film professionals and random lucky ticket holders like myself. When the film concluded they brought the band and the films directors up on stage for questions as is typical at the festival. The evenings MC couldn't get the crowd to quiet down. The audience was going crazy. Finally someone asked Bono if U2 had plans to do more films like the Beatles had with Yellow Submarine. Bono's response was "F--- You" no disrespect to the Beatles but if you think that is their best work you are F---ed. He continued on to say U23D was a vehicle to spread the message of tolerance and peace. You can bet that guy didn't ask another question.

Posted by: I was at the premiere | March 6, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Is this a good second date type of thing?

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