There are plenty of reasons not to see Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
I went in with an open mind. Despite his questionable legal history and lifestyle choices, you cannot deny his musical genius and I was interested in seeing the behind-the-scenes look as he prepared for what would be his swan song, a 50-night engagement at the O2 in London, completely sold out.
My dad was lucky enough to see Michael Jackson in Wembley Stadium during the Bad tour. I remember him bringing back the official program, glossy in red and black and white with Jackson in black leather and looking as tough as he could look with that crazy perm.
When I was eight years old, my brother and our close friends Gabe and Shannan put on a breakdancing show with The Jacksons Victory album as our soundtrack. Ridiculous, I know. But we were kids.
The footage that makes upÂ This Is It was intended for Michael’s personal use only; with his passing, it’s the last glimpse we get of a brilliant performer, a quintessential entertainer and a musical talent we are unlikely to see again in our lifetime. We see him rehearsing the iconic songs he became known for over a career that spanned four decades.
Personally, I was always a fan of Michael’s music, but not like with other artists. Michael’s music was just always there, a part of the thread of our culture, and just about everything he did was totally brilliant.
Watching this 50-year-old man sing and dance and prepare to perform a 50-night engagement was fascinating. He was lucid and involved and inspiring to those surrounding him â€” dancers, backup singers, band, crew. In fact, watching the reactions of those around him as he rehearsed was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Hearing the dancers explain that they had no idea where their careers could go. This was the pinnacle for them. How could it get better?
The thing that really bummed me out was that this tour never happened. It looked EPIC in rehearsals. They also showed many of the extras filmed just for the concert â€” a new 3-D intro to “Thriller”, an awesome multiplying green screen effect for “They Don’t Really Care About Us” and others. But I left the theater feeling a bit unsatisfied if only that I couldn’t see the finished product. Michael Jackson was a rare combination of accomplished musician and enthralling entertainer.
While this is a nice documentary and great insight into what it was like to collaborate with such a genius, it really just left me wanting more.