'Lord of the Dance' dusts moviegoers with 3D glitter

Michael Flatley in "Lord of the Dance 3D," filmed in Dublin last year.
Michael Flatley in "Lord of the Dance 3D," filmed in Dublin last year.
Posted: March 17, 2011

The flash of satin, sequins, spandex, and precision step dancing that is Michael Flatley  comes at you in stereo vision in Lord of the Dance 3D, an insistent spectacle blending Las Vegas razzmatazz with World Wrestling Entertainment showmanship.

Opening on St. Patrick's Day for a one-week run, the new film is a state-of-the-art version of the show first staged and performed by Flatley at Dublin's Point Theatre in 1996 (the version recorded in a 1997 video).

Tricked out with laser lights, Jumbotrons, and stereoscopic cameras, LOTD 3D was filmed at the same Dublin venue, rechristened the 02 theater, in 2010. The noticeable 3D enhancement I saw was the effect of glitter spraying off the screen toward me.

Rather than bring the viewer into the thick of the performance, director Marcus Viner uses the stereoscopic technology as a visual garnish. LOTD 3D is a faithful transcription of a live performance, but it lacks the you-are-there dimension of the most involving concert films.

Flatley has owned the Guinness world record for most taps per second. He's said to clock in at 35 per, which made him the fastest heel in East or West. Maybe it's just the sequined boleros, but much of the time this man who has done so much to celebrate Irish folkloric traditions resembles a turbocharged toreador at a flamenco fiesta.

A heroic saga expressed in movement, this Irish folk tale on steroids is about the struggle between the forces of light and those of darkness as led respectively by the Lord of the Dance and warlord Don Dorcha. They seem to be fighting over a jewel-encrusted title belt. While the Lord of the Dance is inspired by a spritelike spirit, Don Dorcha is reinforced by what looks to be a Druid army.

Punctuating their mythic battles (dramatically emphasized with light-show theatrics) are merrier interludes such as those with fetching blond violinists in black spangly minidresses and dominatrix boots who resemble greeters at the Playboy Mansion.

Throughout Flatley, now 52, is triumphal and indefatigable. There are two mysteries here: From whence comes Flatley's boundless energy? And why does it make me feel so tapped out?


Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/flickgrrl/.

 

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