Muse’s Live Concert Movie – Reviewed

‘Muse – Live At Rome Olympic Stadium’

‘The first live music film in 4K’, goes the big sell, and the mind boggles. 4K?!? What sort of Terminator–style 28th Century technology is that? Will we be wrestled to the ground at the cinema’s doors and surgically implanted with new hyperlinked electronic eyeballs that allow us to literally climb inside Matt Bellamy’s head during ‘Uprising’, play the ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ riff and experience his real-life sensations of Freddie-aping rock star euphoria? Will we actually be inside the floating lightbulb, falling out in a flurry of ticker-tape as ‘Guiding Light’ reaches its choral peak? Or is ‘4K’ just how much a ticket will cost, given how expensive the whole thing was to produce?

Well no, 4K is simply an Ultra High Definition format featuring four times the number of pixels (8.8 million) of standard cinema, making for the crispest and most crikey-I-can-actually-make-out-the-bouncer’s-nostril-hair footage of a live show ever filmed. ‘Panic Station’s’ cartoon visuals of Cameron, the Pope, Angela Merkel and Putin jiving across a spinning globe backed by a lizard horn section are crystal-vivid. The ‘Isolated System’ short film of computerised sonic static eating up a city is given the widescreen cinematic airing it deserves. And Bellamy, Wolstenholme and Howard are so in-the-room they might as well be serving you overpriced nachos; when Bellamy grabs a hanging camera during ‘Starlight’ and uses it to give us a Matt’s-eye view of the crowd, it’s as close as any of us will get to experiencing a stadium gig from the other side of the photo-pit.

The clarity of the film also brings a certain coldness; the surround-sounded IMAXing suits Muse’s synapse-fusing spectacle, but it negates the hazy, one-cider-too-many dizziness that makes their shows whiz by in a blur and made live films like The Chemical Brothers’ Don’t Think far more reflective of the disorientating thrill of throwing yourself into the melee of a major outdoor gig.

But as a record of Muse’s most theatrical and thematically coherent tour yet – the flame-spewing refinery stage set, petrol-drinking traders and cash-flinging bankers on the verge of a heart attack illustrate the economic, personal and political impact of energy depletion as explored on ‘The 2nd Law’ – it’s essential, even while bafflingly omitting the 20ft toy robot called Charles that came on to sing ‘Unsustainable’. From the orchestral Bond strains of ‘Supremacy’ through chucked-out-early showings for ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ to the consummate posturing of ‘Uprising’, each band member backed by a screen full of clones, ‘Live At Rome Olympic Stadium’ captures a world-class rock band hitting their stadium stride, while still finding space for intimate moments – Matt teasing out a moving ‘Explorers’ alone at a silver piano on the central satellite stage. Already stunning, just wait until it’s re-released in up-graded 35KXXL.2 format, which will actually let you shag their holograms.

Muse will stage an advance screening of the movie on November 5 and on November 7 the film will be screened in 100 cinemas worldwide. You can find more details here.