Movie review: ‘Lord of the Dance 3D’ more Vegas glitz than Auld Sod
Judging from the massive, stadium-sized crowds, the jubilant faces of the audiences and the standing O’s, seeing a performance of “Lord of the Dance” in person must be the equivalent of Irish nirvana.
The bedazzling, high-tech dance concert – every bit as garish and overproduced as a multi-truck stadium rock show – is a dizzying amalgam of traditional Irish step dancing, muscular ballet, lilting Celtic lyricism, rock ’n’ roll pyrotechnics, operatic blarney and macho bombast.
Since its Dublin premiere in 1996, the constantly touring show has been seen by some 60 million people in 60 countries, played for heads of state and set box-office records around the world.
So, clearly, the live show is a stirring, tried-and-true crowd pleaser.
Which is more than can be said for “Lord of the Dance 3D,” a tepid and disappointingly flat transfer of the stage show to the big screen that doesn’t do justice to the production’s sensory-jangling spectacle or to the lithe, lovely athleticism of its dancers.
Michael Flatley, the show’s creator, choreographer, producer and lead dancer, is still, at 52, a blond Adonis figure, striking Charles Atlas poses, swaggering across the stage and showing off blurringly fast dance steps (he holds the “Guinness Book of World Records” title for tap speed at 35 taps per second). He created “Lord of the Dance” after headlining the New Age-y “Riverdance,” then parting ways that show’s producers.
After some health issues and a several-year hiatus from the show, Flatley last year teamed with director Marcus Viner, a concert documentary specialist, to create a 3D film drawn from “Lord…” performances in Dublin, London and Berlin.
The result is decidedly mixed. The much-heralded 3D approach touted as making the multi-dimensional stage show come alive on screen simply fails to deliver as advertised. The show’s myriad of colors, its robust action and frenetic crescendos of music and tapping create moments of distracting motion blur and simply seem to overwhelm the 3D technology.
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