For the fans…
Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com
Director: Kenny Ortega
Notable Cast: Michael Jackson
Had Michael Jackson lived to perform his 50 sold out shows in London there surely would have been a DVD released of one of the performances and this documentary would have served as a wonderful behind-the-scenes making of. However, as it stands, all we get now is this phenomenal look into what could have been one of the greatest shows ever.
Kenny Ortega (High School Musical films) has done a fantastic job of taking the footage shot over the rehearsal period and editing it into a cohesive look at how each song came together. Some songs were simply MJ on stage singing; others are huge elaborate spectacles that would have blown audiences minds.
From a giant spider that MJ crawls out of at the beginning of “Thriller” and the new 3-D footage that was shot to be shown during the song to a giant Bulldozer that was to come out on stage at the end of “Earth Song,” this truly would have been a show to be seen. Then there’s the footage shot for “Smooth Criminal” that puts him in a shoot out with Humphrey Bogart that is just awesome. Just a few jaw dropping moments included with This Is It.
But beyond all the glitz and razzle dazzle the real draw is that despite everything MJ had gone through, he still had it. Especially knowing now that he was suffering from arthritis and had a pain med addiction, it’s breathtaking to see him perform all his classic dance moves as well as new ones as easily as he did in the 80’s. He voice was still just as strong as well. After busting out the classic “Billie Jean” dance the fellow dancers clap and cheer and he humbly responds, “That’s just to get an idea,” as if he knew he would do it better during the real show.
MJ is shown here as the consummate performer and perfectionist. He slows down the musicians when he wants them to let the song “simmer” and when any little thing goes wrong he stops the performance to make sure it’s done right, but not in an over the top diva sort of way. He’s very kind and complimentary to his fellow musicians and dancers and constantly reminds them “this is why we have rehearsals.”
Yet it isn’t his unmatched skills as an artist or the over-the-top theatrics of the show that make This Is It such a great documentary, it’s the little moments. At the end of one song as the spot light closes on MJ a large gratifying smile crosses his face, as he knows they’ve nailed it. When he’s singing with one of the girls she gets completely lost in his magical voice and she seems to forget that she’s up there performing with him. It’s these little moments that really put a smile on your face.
Michael Jackson announced that these shows were going to be for the fans. And so This Is It is for the fans as well. If you love MJ’s music then you will certainly love this glimpse into what surely would have been the crowning achievement of his career.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS)
Tags: Michael Jackson, This Is It, Thriller