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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rockumentary > Concert > U2 - Rattle & Hum (HD-DVD)

U2 – Rattle & Hum (HD-DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B     Extras: D     Film: C-



I like U2 to a point, but many are huge fanatical fans with no limit to their love for the band, even when Bono is fighting for world peace and putting band matters on hold.  Back in 1988, the Music Video director Phil Joanou teamed up with the band to do what they felt would be the anti-Rockumentary with U2 – Rattle & Hum and it might have been a fan favorite, but was not the huge commercial and critical success Paramount, the band and filmmakers had hoped for.  However, over the years, it has remained a favorite for fans and curio for others, so it is no surprise that the studio chose it as one of their initial HD-DVD releases.


At its best, it shows the band in prime form and as I noted in a theatrical review way back in 1988, showed Bono in a pure, raw form that Music Videos would simply not have the time to show.  Since then, it has become the Bono and U2 of the past, in transition from the Irish Rock and New Wave-embraced band that had hits like (Pride) In The Name Of Love (even when they were altering historic dates) to a supergroup that sadly lost some of their energy and innovation (especially after the underrated Pop album) for more straight-out, less challenging Rock/Pop forms.  Likely unintentionally, this was a farewell to their earlier greatness and makes it more painful to watch since the energy expended into some wacky cinematic experiment now seems like their greatest lost opportunity to finish the original mission and intent of the band.  Now, it seems like a monumental record of a closure never found and in the middle of the very Neo-Conservatism they run counter to, a very big mistake.  It is one that the band seems to be paying for in Bono’s humanitarian efforts that might not be as necessary or energy-consuming had they not missed the boat here.  Watch it now and see if you can find the same results.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image can complete with Lethal Weapon as the worst HD-DVD image we have seen just based on the poor print used, but this is even a bit worse, since the color cinematography of the late great Jordan Cronenweth, A.S.C., and black and white cinematography of Robert Brinkmann were purposely made to be bland, stylized and run against naturalism.  This transfer takes a problematic situation and makes it worse.  I am a big Cronenweth fan, but this never worked for me and has not held up well.  The bad print/transfer combo makes that all the worse.


The sound was originally released in the theatrical analog Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) system, a superior, advanced system that was their peak before it all went digital.  Since then, a 5.1 remix had been done with the music tracks (recorded separately) reinserted for the concert sequences.  The result in both the Dolby Digital Plus and DTS 5.1 mixes is that the music sounds noticeably better than other audio.  That will make fans happy, but can be noticeably annoying.  Also, though the case says this is regular DTS, the actual disc says DTS-HD.  The difference problem would remain one way or the other, but we could not confirm at the time of posting which it is, though we suspect this is regular DTS.  An HD version of the teaser trailer is the only extra, which is like no extra.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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