|Index||10 reviews in total|
Spike Lee could be a filmmaker with varied performance when it comes to
films but here he truly displayed some professionalism covering the
recording era of Michael Jackson's "Bad" album.
Not only, he collects interviews from numerous individuals of the music industry but he carefully tries to avoid the myth and gossip traps that surround the name of Michael Jackson. This is a musical documentary at first and not a closer look as to who or what Michael Jackson was.
An argument could be made that Lee decided to focus all his energy to the musical genius that Jackson was and how hard he worked to finish an album such as "Bad" including his any skills. The man was composing, producing, writing the songs, choreographing his videos, singing and dancing live, vocal arranging and beatboxing! It is a shame that the album itself had to endure endless criticism for not reaching the levels of "Thriller" and at that period it was considered a disappointment despite selling more than 30 million copies worldwide and being accompanied by the most successful tour of all time.
After 25 years though, "Bad" is considered one of the best albums out there, a record unparalleled in terms of hits and quality balance. "Bad" is a record richer than "Thriller" with less filler and more meat. Lee's interviews, raw footage and behind the scenes tactics prove just that. Taking a massive 5 year period to be recorded, with hundreds of (finished) demos, lots of artistic input and various musical collaborations, "Bad" now gets the treatment and (much awaited) spotlight it deserves.
Bad 25 celebrates the rich sound that Jackson's third solo record contained along with diverse musical engineering and craftmanship. The album has so many hits on so many levels - the short film of Smooth Criminal, the anti gravity lean, the West Side Story dance number of "Bad", the rock gritty sound of "Dirty Diana" with Steve Stevens' input, the psychedelic vibe in "Leave me alone" and the powerful anthem of "Man in the mirror" are just cases that display, suggest and reveal a creative and hard working genius at the peak of his game.
It is really sad that people still tend to emphasize any negative or controversial aspects that Jackson may had. But the musical one is not one of them. For he remains at the pantheon of the most brilliant musicians and performers ever to walk the earth and perhaps, the greatest. And we cannot take that away from him. Ever
"This Is It" spoils us. It will no doubt go down as the film that got
the closest to MJ's process and work habits.
That film makes "Bad 25" look especially like second-hand news, as an array of musicians, technicians, sound engineers and others weigh in on MJ's follow-up to the still-reigning highest-selling album of all time in "Thriller".
One by one, the songs on Bad are broken down into the stories of how they came to be produced, while it is noted throughout that at that point in his adulthood, MJ was becoming a savvy businessman.
I especially like the stuff from those who knew MJ at the time of the recording, while hangers-on Justin Bieber, Kanye, and Chris Brown all received boos at the Toronto screening during TIFF.
In "This Is It" we get right up close to the King of Pop, so having a doc with a bunch of people telling us about him just doesn't resonate as fully, and to my surprise, there is a lot of talking in this movie compared with the amount of music in it.
This is not a bad movie. It made me nostalgic for my youth and to want to hear these songs in full. And of course, MJ's passing has only increased the shivers I get when I hear that choir go, "man in the mirruh!", but as far as music docs go, this is pretty much par for the course.
Don't get me wrong, I love Spike Lee and I love MJ, but this documentary just isn't that good. I saw it at the Filmfestival in Venice this summer, and was really looking forward to it, especially since Spike was there at the viewing. He was cool. The film let me down a little bit, though. Even though especially the footage of the making of 'Bad' and the origins of other songs were great to see and very interesting, some of the interviews with celebrities were not. People like Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey did not have a lot to contribute, and for me the tear-jerking question 'where were you when you heard about Michael's death?' (followed by a montage of celebrities looking down, tearing up etc) could have been left out. It is important to pay a tribute to the King of Pop, of course, but it could have been done in a tighter and 'smoother' way. It reminded me too much of some MTV 'The Rise & Rise of..' format. The style of the film (talking head, weird cross zoom rotate fade, original footage, talking head) was also part the reason why to me it felt it should have ended about twenty minutes before it did.
It's a nice documentary for Michael Jackson fans who never get enough from this man, there's a lot of unreleased rehearsal and Behind the scenes videos you've never seen before. the best part of the movie was that one about the way you make me feel I really loved it, the least was smooth criminal part, they presented the lyrics as meaningless crab, the short film as a reidea, something that I completely disagree. These particular hit and short film took Michael's popularity to a whole new range around the globe, maybe it didn't make it in US but it was the most international single from the album. I first know about Michael from this short film. for people just curious about how Michael's music process goes, I recommend This is it than BAD25. Maybe I'm a little bit overrating but I give 10 stars for this doc.. Its celebrating a 10 star album, and the all time king of stars :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bad25 is going to appeal to the Michael Jackson fan. It casts some much needed light on the creative process the led to the finished "Bad" album. This documentary will not appeal to those who want to learn more about Michael's private life, especially his eccentricities. It was interesting that the buying of the Beatles catalogue may have led to some of the junk journalism. Some junk journalism was released by people in Michael's group. If this is indeed the case, it backfired badly for Jackson. The documentary is a standard example of a factual documentary, with a lot of talking heads. I feel that Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Chris Brown and Cee LoGreen and maybe one or two others were unnecessary add-ins. They added little to the story, though with Mariah, it was funny to hear she had two dresses reminiscent of a Thumbtzen dress in the late 1980's. Little things like that are nice to hear, in my opinion. I have grown impatient with the amount of focus on Michael's private life. I'm a scientist, and if I have learned anything, it is this. Outside of science all you have is a court of law, which examines the available evidence. The general public have no right, in my opinion, to judge a person upon junk journalism. I remember in the documentary "The Michael Jackson Story", Seb Fontaine (narrator) pointed out at the beginning of the documentary that "it is easy to forget what all the fuss was about in the first place; it was of course his music". It is really sad that some people have actually "forgotten" why Jackson became famous in the first place. This documentary reminds us of a man driven by passion for music, driven by a passion to surpass himself musically, driven by a passion to entertain. He was a workaholic and he deserves credit for his hard work. It was not easy and few people remember this when they critically examine his music. There was one part of the documentary which fell down considerably. That was the discussion of the song "Just Good Friends". It was considered a "coffee break" between "Liberian Girl" and "The Way You Make Me Feel". I don't understand why. I like it. This documentary will bring people back to the man and his music. Buy the DVD, Watch it and leave your junk journalism down forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had a chance to see 'BAD25' this past weekend at Yale University's
Whitney Humanities Center. By the end of the 2 1/2 hour viewing I was
in tears. Seeing Michael (not in his last days before his untimely
demise) re 'This Is It' but during the momentous development of the
followup album to the groundbreaking, record breaking "Thriller" album
was a treat for real Michael Jackson fans. An emotional roller coaster
that allowed you to laugh out loud at the anecdotes shared in one
moment and listen in wonder during another. For real music fans like
Spike Lee who grew up surrounded by musical talent and raised by a
musician, watching the process for developing this album was a rare
treat and a superior lesson in what it takes to harness the genius of
an artist. Spike perfectly wove together interviews with Jackson's
longtime collaborators: his sound engineer Bruce Swedien, super star
composer Quincy Jones, his long time musicians, choreographers and
other collaborators with those of present day artists that have been
inspired by and owe much of their success to Michael Jackson's
influence and legacy. Interspersed between those segments you get to
see Michael at work. You witness his work ethic and all that inspired
him to entice his audience visually. His short films (not videos) were
as dear to him as the music he made. Spike was approached to do this
documentary to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the release of the
'Bad' album. I remember where I was when I heard the first single. I
was away at school living in Washington, D.C. I remember staying up
late to watch his videos. I remember what it was like to hear 'Liberian
Girl' for the first time.
When you watch this documentary not only do you get to relive each of those moments, but you get to understand why you were so touched and affected by each song and each short film. A tremendous amount of work and nuance went into each recording. Bruce Swedien took us through the simple and yet unappreciated ways in which he was able to help create specific sounds for each song. Many amateurs will lament this approach because they do not understand MJ's influence. People will decry the use of old footage of Michael in concert but if you get to view it again you will understand. The Michael we knew and grew up loving was more himself during that time in his life than he was in the weeks and even months leading up to his death. Michael was suffering terribly from his addiction and was surrounded by those willing to aid him in that addiction. Painfully his family stood by helpless which is typical when dealing with an addict.
Spike Lee very cleverly showed the reactions as he asked each person where they were when they heard that Michael Jackson had passed away. I too remember where I was when I heard the 'rumor'. That's what I called it because I did not believe it. Did not want to believe it. And as many said like Danyel Smith, during the interview 'still can't believe it'. Spike spoke to the audience after the viewing ended. He explained why the last segment of the documentary was dedicated to the making of the song "Man In The Mirror" written by the incredible singer & song writer Siedah Garrett. In short he explained to us in so much as when John Lennon died and 'Imagine' dominated the airwaves, "Man in the Mirror" stood out as the song that represented this icon. All of his songs were played but "Man in the Mirror" is the anthem that touches us all. I dare anyone not to tear up during those last 10 minutes.
I want to thank Spike Lee for allowing us to revisit 1987. I can not think of a more perfect tribute to MJ and those who were lucky enough to work with him. And I feel especially lucky to have shared the experience of the documentary with my young nephew who loved every minute of it. A budding but true Michael Jackson fan.
This documentary really shows the craftsmanship of the King of Music. There are some funny stories, and more bonus footage to come when its released on BLURAY in FEB 2013. Can't wait. MJ in HD....i think this deserves 10 stars. Bad25 is a great release, its all about the music, and the music still stands up today. Its fresh, funky, and Bad :) While This is it covered the last tour, Bad25 covers one of his albums. Hopefully there will be more MJ album documentaries like this one. Spike Lee did a wonderful job, hopefully if they make more of these he will be the one making them. This documentary about the 1987 album is nothing short than great and everyone should watch it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
1987 was when the King of Pop released his successful follow-up album to the record breaking, critically acclaimed and award winning Thriller, and 2012 was the time when the album Bad would be celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary, so this film tells the story of how it came to be, from director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, "They Don't Care About Us" music video). Michael Jackson wanted to take somewhat of a different approach with his follow-up to Thriller and hoped to sell even more copies of the album, and this film shows behind the scenes of his writing, recording and performing the songs and their videos during the making of the Bad album. This includes film director Martin Scorsese, and his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, looking back at the making of the video for the title single, "Bad", including what it was like working with Michael, the dance routines, the costumes, the casting of Wesley Snipes and much more. We see Joe Pytka (Space Jam) talk about directing Michael and him being shy about doing a kissing scene in the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" and it instead ends with hugging, we see the making of "Another Part of Me" and him performing to an audience of thousands, and we see how a slow ballad song idea emerged into "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" which was a duet with Siedah Garrett (it could have been Whitney Houston). We see celebrity fans asking if any particular Diana was the one sung about in the single "Dirty Diana", we see the origins of the lyric "Annie are you okay?" in the song "Smooth Criminal" and discussions about the famous dance moves including the lean, and we find out more about the lyrics written in the song "Leave Me Alone", and the other songs on the album are talked about in some detail as well: "Speed Demon", "Liberian Girl" and "Just Good Friends" which featured Stevie Wonder. Of course the celebrities interviewed also talk about where they were, how they heard and how they reacted about the death of Michael, and what he meant to them in their lives, and this magnificence he created is perfectly captured with the album's pivotal song, "Man in the Mirror", written by Garrett it is truly one of his greatest and most loved songs, not just for the album Bad but in his career, it was the song that in the UK got to number two after his death. With contributions from Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green, Quincy Jones, Usher, Antonio 'L.A.' Reid, Kanye West and many more. It is very interesting documentary about the creation of such a memorable and successful album from one of the most iconic pop stars in the world, this is definitely a really suitable and well put together film to go with the celebration, a great music documentary. Michael Jackson was number 14 on The 100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, and he was number 6 on The Ultimate Pop Star. Very good!
NOTE: This is a review of the sixty-four minute snippet of Spike Lee's
Bad 25 that aired on ABC on November 22, 2012. The original film is
about two hours and eleven minutes and is scheduled to be released on
DVD in February 2013. When available, I will publish a new review of
the full length film, which will be mixed points from this review along
with newly established ones.
Every artist, big or small, comes billed with their own projected style or personal feature. Gene Simmons had his tongue, Madonna had her dresses, but Michael Jackson had his moves and "his groove," music executive Andre Harrell tells us in Spike Lee's much-anticipated Bad 25. Just watching an old video of Michael Jackson performing live and dancing on stage inspires all sorts of reactions among the old and the young. His talents are unforgettable, his music, touching in the way words can not describe, and eternal, much like his spirit.
We begin by welcoming expected statistics to the table; Michael Jackson's album Thriller is the best selling album in music history, how do you follow it up? With another fantastic record that boasts five singles, all of which charting number one. That album, of course, is the iconic Bad, released in 1987, with a cover boasting Michael staring at you in a black leather jump-suit with several silver buckles, and the five singles being "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Bad," "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel," and "Dirty Diana." After those back-to-back successes, you can bet that pretty much every tune off the album became its own single.
Followed up are a variety of interviews from modern stars such as Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, and Kanye West, and a number of artists and composers that had firsthand experience with Michael such as his main producer, Quincy Jones and Tatiana Thumbtzen, who co-starred with him in the music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel," where she remarks fondly about how Michael was so shy and vulnerable, leading the director of the short film to change the ending from a kiss to a simple hug. I say short film purely for the spirit of Michael Jackson; he never liked to call the video counterparts for his songs "music videos," but "short films," and they definitely played like one. The only modern artist I can think of that tries to tag on a story with her videos is Lady Gaga, but even she can't embody the true sense of power and bombastic greatness of the king of pop.
Quite possibly the most interesting segment in the film is the footage we get behind the scenes of the Bad short film shoot, with acclaimed director Martin Scorsese manning the camera. In front of it are not only Michael Jackson with a band of young, highly-skilled choreographers, but Wesley Snipes in a debut role as the one peer pressuring Michael before he exclaims loudly and proudly that he is "bad." But not criminally bad; "bad" as in cool, he says.
Another short film shoot we explore is the production of the kinetic, infectious anthem "Smooth Criminal," which just so happens to be one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. We see how deeply and closely the short mimics the film noir style of pictures like The Third Man, with its heavy use of shadow and color. In its entirety, the short is expertly crafted and the music is beautifully sung, and like mentioned in the film, is completely worth it to see the "Smooth Criminal" lean, where Michael and his group of dancers lean forward to the point of almost appearing horizontal.
Bad 25 will suffer by comparison to Michael Jackson film greats like Michael Jackson's Moonwalker and Michael Jackson's This Is It. It's difficult to top those cherished pictures mainly because it shows Michael as a living, breathing human, and what we're left with is to remember him through archived concert footage and the hundreds of interviews he gave in his heyday. I'm giving this cut of the documentary three stars only as a placeholder because I can sense that it is heavily cut and a large part of the exploration in the five singles feels rather slim. To judge this entire project solely on the viewing of the hour-long special we were fortunate to get is a little disheartening and unfair. I haven't seen the half of it - literally.
Starring: Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Quincy Jones, Martin Scorsese, Cee Lo Green, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, and Tatiana Thumbtzen. Directed by: Spike Lee.
Just because LA Reid is the handler of Justin Bieber I don't why he puts him in to things when Michael Jackson worked all his life. To me it was a cut & paste film. I prefer the original Michael Jackson short films especially Ghost compared to this one. Granted Mariah Carey was a friend of Michael's but how did she & Bieber end up in this? I as a true fan of Michael Jackson never support anything with Justin Bieber in it. Once again MJ worked hard at his craft not to have it pasted together & a person that may "idolize him" be put in to this. It just makes me ill. LA Reid stop putting Bieber in Michael Jackson projects. I will stick to the original items of Michael Jackson. Thank you.
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