U2: Rattle and Hum

U2: Rattle and Hum (1988)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: U2 -- Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr.
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

As we all know, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. With that in mind, I still had the same problems with “U2: Rattle and Hum” viewing it today, that I did eleven years ago when I saw it in the theater. Namely, I didn’t agree with the songs that they decided to feature in the film. Still, this film was made to capture the look and feel of U2’s “Joshua Tree” tour and the film does manage to do that. The film contains several stand-out productions, the best being “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)”. The problem with the film is that it’s a concert film disguised as a documentary. Within its 98 minutes, there are less than 10 minutes where we get to see the band backstage. So, if you’re viewing “Rattle and Hum” to learn more about U2, the band, you’ll be disappointed. But, if you want an idea of what it’s like to see them live, then “U2: Rattle and Hum” delivers the goods.

The Paramount DVD of “U2: Rattle and Hum” is presented in anamorphic widescreen and is letterboxed at 1.85:1. For the most part, the picture is very clear. The majority of the film was shot in black and white. While this photography looks nice, there is a considerable amount of graininess on the daytime shots. (Although, we can debate the inability to escape grain when viewing B&W prints on DVD.) The color portions of the film do not suffer from this graininess, but there is some oversaturation of the reds, which are abundant in stage lighting.
As the music is the star of this show, the audio on this DVD is breathtaking. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is one of the best that I’ve heard. The music truly comes to life and the surround sound is put to good use. The only extra on the DVD is a subtle, yet effective theatrical trailer.