For over four decades Michael Jackson has been entertaining the world. From his many #1 smash hits to his incredible short films that dominated MTV, Michael is one of the greatest ... See full summary »
Anthology movie by, and starring, Michael Jackson in his prime, combining a number of music videos from his bestselling "Bad" album with a fantasy tale of Michael's confrontation with a ruthless drug dealer known as Mr. Big (Joe Pesci).
Featuring never before seen footage and exclusive interviews with Michael's Mother Katherine and siblings Tito and Rebbie Jackson covering all the highs and also the lows in the King of ... See full summary »
In the weeks before his death, Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009) was rehearsing a show, "This Is It," that was to open in July. This film begins with a few of the auditioning dancers speaking to the camera about why they're trying out and what Jackson means to them. Then we plunge into rehearsals at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The film is arranged by musical number with pre-recorded material and footage from Jackson's various rehearsals edited together to take us through what would have been the concert's set list. Written by
Guitarist Orianthi Panagaris states in an interview that she received an invite to audition for a spot on the tour via MySpace. When she showed up to audition, Jackson and other producers asked her to play the solo from the song "Beat It." After playing the piece, Jackson approached Panagaris, took her arm, and asked if she could play the solo walking across the stage at a specific speed. When she responded she could handle the assignment, Jackson hired her on the spot. See more »
No one has any apology to make about this wonderful documentary, least of all Kenny Ortega. When I heard he intended to take "rehearsal" footage of the "This Is It" tour and market it as a film, I assumed it was an attempt to recoup the investment made in the project. Who could have guessed that this film would stand on its own and also enter the echelons of the "best" documentaries about rock music ever made? No less, Michael Jackson reveals more about himself in this footage than we've ever seen before. It's his premiere moment on film, and I would guess he would not have wanted it shown only because we seefor the first timeJackson without a mask. I won't attempt to characterize this complicated, insanely talented, person, but basically he's painfully shy. And he excelled at one of the most public vocations there is: performing.
What's interesting about the footage is that it exists at all. But since concerts today use video projection for the large venues where they play, it was natural to include the cameras during the rehearsal period. And it's riveting! Nothing is ever less than compelling in large part due to the level of talent in all quarters. The dancers, the musicians, the back-up singers, sets, costumes it's a parade of the best of the best. While Jackson is the center of all of this, if you don't care for him, there's plenty of other things to look at and enjoy.
Any sadness is brought by the viewer. There's not one nod to Jackson's demise or when it occurs. He looks thin, but even in a rehearsal mode, he's electrifying, and I think that's why the film works. We're not at some huge arena (for which the concert was conceived) with 10,000 screaming fans. And rather than missing that electricity, we get intimate performances of familiar Jackson material. But it's re-imagined and you never know what's coming next.
An alert: there is footage throughout the final credit sequence and after the credits end. And if you can, see it in a DP theater...for the sound alone. An amazing experience!
117 of 137 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?