U2-Rattle and Hum (1988)

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Released 5-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 94:47
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Phil Joanou

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Bono
Adam Clayton
Larry Mullen
B.B. King
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music U2

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Slovenian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, only a small amount.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Rattle And Hum is a movie of a concert tour. The tour is the American leg of U2's 1988 Joshua Tree tour. Being one of the most successful rock bands in the world, U2 hardly need an introduction. The Irish four-piece have been influencing the world of Rock and Roll, and mastering the art of the arena tour for over twenty years. This tour shows them on their last shows prior to the huge, arena spectaculars of the early and mid 90's. As such it has become an enlightening look back to when U2 was just a rock and roll band, and not the larger-than-life entities they became during the 90's. Certainly that was not what was intended for this movie, but as time progresses, it is what Rattle And Hum will come to be viewed as. Interestingly enough, they have now gone back to this more traditional style show with their latest Elevation tour.

    Much of the footage presented for Rattle And Hum is in black and white, shot on 16mm high-grain film stock (an artistic choice intended to lend a gritty realism to the film). The movie, as well as featuring many performances of classic U2 songs, also features interviews with the band, and some behind-the-scenes footage from their tour. There really is no discernible structure to the movie, and little is revealed beyond the fact that U2 are passionate about what they do, and the messages they are trying to convey.

    A final note is that while the back cover of the DVD states that there are 11 extra tracks not included on the Rattle And Hum album, many of these are sung only in snippets, with only about 6 being actual full songs. This DVD certainly will not stand in for a full concert, but works quite well as an accompaniment for the big U2 fan.

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Track Listing

1. Helter Skelter
2. Van Diemen's Land
3. Desire
4. Exit
5. I Still Haven't Found...
6. Silver And Gold
7. Angel Of Harlem
8. All Along The Watchtower
9. When Love Comes To Town
10. Hearland
11. Bad
12. Where The Streets Have No Name
13. With Or Without Me
14. Bullet The Blue Sky
15. Running To Stand Still
16. Sunday Bloody Sunday
17. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
18. All I Want Is You

Transfer Quality


    The transfer presented here is of a very poor quality, although almost all problems are source related.

    Presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is, for the most part, quite soft. There are only a very few instances of clear images, when the source lets the image clean up enough. Filmed on a combination of 16mm and 35mm stock, the 16mm segments make themselves abundantly clear with an enormous amount of grain that barely lets enough detail through to make out what is happening during darker segments. While this was an "artistic" choice, it certainly makes for a very bad image. Shadow detail is likewise affected by this combination of sources, displaying some nice detail during some concert footage, while other dark sequences are simply a black mush.

    As the vast majority of this transfer is presented in black and white, colour does not play as large a role as normal. When the colour does appear however, it is quite nicely presented, displaying well the multi-coloured nature of U2's shows.

    Apart from some light background pixelisation, directly related to the excessive levels of grain in some scenes, there are no MPEG artefacts present in this transfer. For such a soft presentation, aliasing is surprisingly common. While it never becomes a large problem, the usual parade of items come up again, including a guitar neck, and stage grating. Some not-so-usual items are affected, such as Bono's hat. Film artefacts are present throughout the transfer, and seem to change in number from segment to segment. Most are small and not particularly distracting, however a large round blob makes its presence felt at 18:03.

    There are two sets of English subtitles present on this disc, one containing lyric subtitles and the other simply for dialogue. The lyrics reflect correctly what is being sung, not the official words for the songs, while the dialogue subtitles tend to clean up the mumbled and mis-spoken dialogue from the interviews, often making it more pleasant to read the subtitles than listen to the dialogue.

    This is a single layer disc and hence does not suffer from a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer presented here is of a much higher quality than the video, offering an extremely immersive experience that exhibits few flaws.

    There are two audio tracks present on this disc, being a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track encoded at the higher bit rate of 224 Kbps, and Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at the higher bit rate of 448 Kbps. I listened to the 5.1 track in its entirety, and sampled the 2.0 track.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, even when the band members are mumbling their way through interviews. For the live performance sequences, the vocals are clear and not obscured by crowd noise or the music.

    There are no problems with audio sync on this disc at all.

    The musical performances are usually limited largely to the front soundstage with the crowd noise passed through the rear channels. A notable exception to this is Desire where some of the percussive noises are placed in the rear channels with a significant amount of reverb - an effect which is quite disconcerting. The music is well placed across the soundstage and the sound is more than clear enough to distinguish the individual instruments. Occasionally, the crowd noise becomes loud enough to be irritating, but never during the performances, only during general applause.

    The subwoofer is used extensively to support the lower end of the music, and adds a nice punch to the kick drum and decent bounce to the bass guitar, but is not over used. The 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks are actually very close in quality. While the discrete bandwidth of the full 5.1 soundtrack means that it has a distinct advantage over the 2.0 track, the latter is still quite active in surround use, and does not lose much ground to the 5.1 track in terms of quality.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The stark lack of extras, limited only to a Theatrical Trailer, is somewhat disappointing for a movie about a tour by one of the most successful (and most controversial) bands in history.


    The menu is static and themed around the movie. There is no audio accompaniment.

Theatrical Trailer (1:21)

    This is just the standard theatrical trailer, presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is identically in features (or rather, in lack of features) in both regions, so this one is a dead heat.


    Rattle and Hum is a good tour-movie that contains many classic U2 songs. It is certainly no replacement for a full concert disc, but is a good accompaniment for the U2 fan.

    Some of the "artistic" choices made in the filming have lead to a problematic video transfer that is full of grain, and covered in film artefacts.

    The audio quality is good, and the surround re-mixing for the most part is successful (with a few notable exceptions).

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Thursday, January 10, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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