Spike Lee seem to have settled for a recipe for how to make documentaries about Michael Jackson that are entertaining but not really informative.
The recipe is this: Talk to a bunch of famous people about how great they think Off the wall is. (He did the same with Bad25). Mix it with archival footage of Michael Jackson. Go through each track and talk a little bit about it, and when we get to the last track, the film ends. Even though he has people who wrote some of the songs, like Stevie Wonder, he refuses to go into detail and lets other irrelevant artists such as Pharell describe them instead.
He does not really go in depth enough, as he should for this big artist. He does not interview Quincy Jones, the main producer who launched Jacksons solo career, and relies on old archival footage instead. He hints of controversial subjects such as racism destroying the genre of disco, and Jackson rising above that. But its all done in a hurry as we plow through some beats and steps from Jacksons glittery feet on stage. Because thats more important to Lee.
Its more important to make this a celebration of Jackson, keep the audience amazed and keep the grove going. When in fact, there were serious subjects, conflicts and challenges within this era of Jacksons life. My biggest question is what did Jackson want to do different artistically that he could not do before? This is never answered. We hear how Michael eventually broke away from his family, but no mention of the fact that he was physically abused by his father, and the fact that might have something to do with his desire to work on his own.
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