Larger Than Life in 3D

Larger Than Life in 3DThis past week, a very rare thing happened in U.S. cinema.  A film was released for one week.  Yep, that’s it, seven days.  On December 11th, Director Lawrence Jordan’s concert film, Larger Than Life in 3D hit theaters making anything but a big splash.  Filmed at the three-day long Austin City Limits music festival in Austin, Texas this past October, Larger Than Life in 3D features the musical work of Gogol Bordello, Ben Harper and Relentless7, and last but certainly not least, Dave Matthews Band. 

It is important to note that this is not a musical documentary, it is a concert film.  There is no narrative or behind-the-scenes exposure.  You see what the concert audience saw, just from different camera angles and in the eye-grabbing 3D (hence the title) experience.  Speaking of the title, I am still scratching my head on this one.  I get the 3D part, but Larger Than Life?  DMB is the most popular of the three acts, but are they larger than life?  I know, I know; it’s a figure of speech, albeit one that I never cared for.  Nevertheless, it’s a group of very talented people on stage, not a black hole enveloping the cosmos.  Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox and back on track. 

 Larger Than Life in 3D - Gogol Bordello

The production starts with Gogol Bordello and his collage of musicians.  Remember the land of misfit toys from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special?  Bordello is surrounded by his own band of merry misfits…but they make it work.  I may not be first in line to buy their album, but they have energy and punch and this was most evident in the audience feeding off Bordello’s music, such as the band’s most prominent song, Start Wearing Purple.  If you asked me to describe them in a word, I’d be at a total loss.  The band’s sound and appearance is something in the realm of gypsy meets hippie meets animé.  There’s a fiddle, a button box and your traditional guitars and drums; all assembled in a very unorthodox yet rhythmic audible barrage.  You’ll find two songs from them to open the film and one during the closing credits. 

Larger Than Life in 3D - Ben Harper and Relentless 7

The second act of the Larger Than Life in 3D is Ben Harper and Relentless7.  Quite capable on the guitar and vocals, Harper leads the way with a bluesy, rock flavor.  I found the four tunes this band played to be all similar without much separation of uniqueness from one to another.  Their drummer delivered a fury of impressive percussive beats, but the profile shots of exposed beer belly and rising underwear waistline was enough to take the wind out of my sails.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but it wasn’t pretty.  The rockin’ quartet finished their last song with nothing more than a wobbly slide swaying back and forth on the strings of Harper’s resting guitar, which is something you have to see to appreciate.  I will say, that was one of the coolest methods of closing out a performance that I’ve ever seen.

Larger Than Life in 3D - Dave Matthews Band

The final act is DMB who played with audience-catering fervor through tunes such as You Might Die Trying, Shake Me Like a Monkey and a wildly fun and energizing cover of the Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House.  Approximately seven songs are featured from the 15-song, 1-teaser DMB set list.  Matthews jams it out through a progressively sweat-drenched shirt while his surrounding mates each offer their own powerful contribution.  After a few DMB songs, you truly realize the difference in success, fan following and sound of the three acts featured in the film.  We start off with the daylight rants of Gogol Bordello and finish with the nighttime luminescent frenzy of the Dave Matthews Band.  

Only appearing at select venues across the country, Larger Than Life in 3D made its cinema exit on December 17th.  When I say ‘select venues,’ I mean it.  I drove an hour one way to find a movie theater that was showing it.  Advertisements made it a point, understandably, to emphasize the extremely brief screening run to get audiences into theaters.  It also made it known that this film will not be coming to DVD.  Okay, will it be arriving on Blu-ray?  That remains to be seen. 

In closing, I wanted to take a moment to touch on the whole 3D effect.  Yes it’s cool…for a short time, but this 85-minute film could be just as good for me in 2D with a bangin’ surround sound.  To be perfectly honest, I was really only absorbed into the enhanced visuals on a handful of occasions throughout this musical production.  The film industry’s current push is High Definition.  Its next will be 3D.  Expect 3D televisions, more 3D cinema films, etc.  I have never been sold on this idea and always looked at it as a gimmick.  Until Hollywood can wow not just me, but North American audiences with eye-popping 3D visuals, then it’s going to remain the same come-and-go fad that it’s always been.  


Stop by the following websites for more!






Larger Than Life in 3D




2 Responses to “Larger Than Life in 3D”

  1. Brian White

    Superb review as always!

    Hopefully it will come out on Blu-ray for you!

    I guess we will see just how good 3D cinema has come tomorrow with our Avatar screening!

  2. Justin Boros

    Brilliant laddie!