Audiences inclined to clap during Michael Flatley's high-energy, high-tech "Lord of the Dance 3D" might not feel the need, since the movie seems to be applauding itself from the moment it kicks off. Flatley -- who left "Riverdance" in the mid-'90s to create the immensely popular and profitable "Lord of the Dance" -- returned to his show in November for the first time since 1998, and begins the new film by talking about "LOTD" in terms of conflict, struggle and warfare. It seems bad form to declare victory before the battle has even begun.
What battle? Apparently, the battle to marry traditional Irish dance to every rogue device in mass entertainment and come up with something busy, noisy and insubstantial enough to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible, without signifying anything in particular. Or telling a coherent story. Sixty million or so people have seen "LOTD" live, though, so it apparently works, at least at making money.
It's hard to believe movie audiences will be particularly smitten with this Marcus Viner-directed version (filmed mostly before wildly enthusiastic audiences at the O2 arena in Dublin, but also London and Berlin), which gives a lot of exposure to the attractive women in the "LOTD" troupe but makes little use of its 3-D technology. In other words, if you're at all annoyed by Flatley's posturing, you'll be doubly annoyed by the 3-D glasses.