U2 3D is a 2008 3-D concert film featuring Irish rock band U2 performing in Latin America during the Vertigo Tour in 2006. A total of 14 songs are featured in the U2 3D film, including new songs taken from the Vertigo Tour’s supporting album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The U2 3D film consists almost entirely of concert footage, with political statements addressed during several songs. Following the 1988 rockumentary, Rattle and Hum, U2 3D became the band’s second feature film, and it was praised over its predecessor. The U2 3D film also became the first ever live-action digital 3-D film, and created many other “firsts” in the history of cinema
The project was created to experiment with a new type of 3-D film technology, pioneered by 3ality Digital in 2003. After proposing to film American football games in 3-D, 3ality Digital decided to create a concert film, selecting U2 as their subject. The band was quite hesitant at first to accept, but eventually decided to make the film mainly as a technological experiment rather than as a means to make profit. Latin America was chosen as the location to shoot the film, with seven concerts shot at various venues, and an additional two concerts shot in Australia. The film’s complex setup involved shooting with up to 18 3-D cameras at one time, and capturing the footage digitally.
After the film’s preview screening at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, it premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was last shown at over 600 theaters internationally following its wide release in February 2008. U2 3D peaked at number 19 and brought in US$20 million during the first 12 months. Critics praised the film for its 3-D technology and innovation, and received mostly positive reviews, with many critics stating that viewing 3-D effects in the film was better than going to a live concert. The film won several awards following its release, and the positive feedback prompted several of the filmmakers to feel as if U2 3D created a paradigm shift in filmmaking.
U2 3D depicts a U2 concert in Buenos Aires during the band’s Vertigo Tour. The film begins with a view of the back of the stage and a voice heard chanting “everyone”, followed by fans running through the venue before the start of the show. U2 begin the concert with the song “Vertigo”, which is followed by ten more songs in the main set. Images are shown throughout the concert on the stage’s LED display, and political statements are addressed during songs such as “Sunday Bloody Sunday” where the word “coexista” (English: “coexist”) is displayed on screen featuring various religious symbols, and “Miss Sarajevo” where an excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is read aloud by a narrator. The main set ends with the song “One” after which the band leave the stage. The band later return to the stage for an encore, and perform “The Fly”, which features a succession of words and phrases that appear on the stage’s LED display and are superimposed into the film itself. The band end the show with “With or Without You”, and then leave the stage for the final time. As the closing credits begin to roll, a live performance of “Yahweh” is heard as animations from the stage’s LED display are shown, and the band later reappear on stage in a post-credits scene performing the end of the song.