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‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ concert film brings live experience to theaters

Taylor+Swift%3A+The+Eras+Tour+concert+film+brings+live+experience+to+theaters
Collegian | Dylan Tusinski

Taylor Swift’s groundbreaking Eras Tour has been touring North America and international stadiums since March. Now, Swift has brought to theaters the concert that has broken countless records and caused a ticketing meltdown.

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie was announced Aug. 31 on Swift’s Instagram. Fans at the Los Angeles stop of the concert saw filming taking place Aug. 3-5, and the film was announced to be released directly through AMC, therefore not crossing any of the picket lines caused by the SAG-AFTRA writers strike.

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The Eras Tour film debuted at $128 million on its opening weekend, officially becoming the highest-grossing concert film in the United States ever.

A spliced recording of the three filmed shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, The Eras Tour film has a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes, a 45-minute cutdown from the actual concert. Swift removed seven songs from the film, which was the only blight on an otherwise immersive and beautiful film experience.

While some of the song cuts seem to make sense to preserve runtime, others felt slightly choppy, and for filmgoers who also were at the live concert, it felt like a bit of a letdown not to get the full experience. It also felt like everyone in the theater would not have objected to staying for the extra runtime because of how captivating the filming made the concert.

The film brings a whole different dimension to the concert experience. While nothing will ever replicate the feeling of seeing a concert live, especially The Eras Tour, with the booming sound and the energy of the crowd, the film enhances the experience of seeing The Eras Tour live for fans who have been lucky enough to see it and replicates the experience beautifully for those who could not.

The cinematography — a mix of aerial wide shots, crowd shots and close-ups of Swift and her dancers and singers — allows the viewer to feel as if they are in the stadium during the performance.

Swift gives plenty of screen time to her backup musicians and dancers, truly making the film feel like an ensemble production. The film also includes crowd reaction shots that are beautiful and wholesome.

During the song “Tolerate It,” Swift’s backup dancer is followed through two doors onto the stage, allowing the audience to feel as if they are actually on the stage as well. During “Look What You Made Me Do,” the camera runs in circles around Swift’s raised platform and captures the raw energy of the live moment better than almost any other shot.

In quieter moments, when Swift sits and plays a piano or guitar, the camera focuses on a tight shot of her facial expressions, adding emotion and vulnerability to moments that could easily get lost if fans were higher up in the giant stadiums. The camera work was so diligent in those moments that eagle-eyed fans could even catch a glimpse of chipped nail polish during “All Too Well.”

The editing of the film included nicely disguised 3D titles for each of the eras, which added a sense of magical realism to the film, as well as superimposed fireworks to close out the show. The visuals that play on the back of the stage are sometimes played as part of the movie, which truly brings them to life.

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Swift’s cinematography team does a good job of avoiding the awkwardness of having the giant back screen showing a recording of the performance at the same time she performs. SoFi Stadium has a ring of screens to aid the view of fans sitting higher up in the stadium, and this was almost entirely avoided in the film.

The audio quality allows fans to actually hear Swift’s vocals if they can resist the urge to start singing and listen quietly. Some theaters have been filled with singing and dancing fans, but whether an animated or quiet crowd, The Eras Tour film does justice to the concert phenomenon and brings the spectacle to local theaters.

Perhaps the best moment of the concert documentary is the end credits. The song “Long Live” plays to bloopers of Swift and fan-recorded videos outside the shows at SoFi, and the final screen of the film is a message from Swift with friendship bracelets that spell out: “Thank you to the most generous, thoughtful, loving fans on the planet. This is all because of you and for you.”

For those who stay long enough to see the end credits, the sweet message feels like the perfect way to close what Swift calls in the film “the most extraordinary experience of her life.”

Reach Allie Seibel at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @allie_seibel_

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About the Contributor
Allie Seibel, Editor in Chief
Allie Seibel is the editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, a role she loves more and more with each day. Previously the news editor and news director of The Collegian, Seibel has a background in news, but she’s excited to branch out and experience every facet of content this and following years. Seibel is a sophomore journalism and media communications major minoring in business administration and legal studies. She is a student in the Honors Program and is also an honors ambassador and honors peer mentor. She also is a satellite imagery writer for the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University. Seibel is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and loves how The Collegian has gotten her acquainted with Fort Collins and CSU. When she’s not writing, reporting or in class, you can always find her with a book, cross-stitching, planning where to travel to next, trying out a new recipe or listening to Taylor Swift. Seibel is incredibly proud of The Collegian’s past and understands the task of safeguarding its future. She’s committed to The Collegian’s brand as an alt-weekly newspaper and will continue to advance its status as a strong online publication while preserving the integrity and tradition of the print paper. Seibel is excited to begin a multi-year relationship with readers at the helm of the paper and cannot wait to see how the paper continues to grow. Through initiatives like the new science desk and letting each individual desk shine, Seibel is committed to furthering The Collegian and Rocky Mountain Student Media over the next few years.

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