When “The King Of Pop” died on June 25 and newscasts started showing limited rehearsal footage from Michael Jackson’s upcoming London production “This Is It,” I knew that someone would exploit those videos and turn them into a feature-length film. What I didn’t foresee was that footage being turned into a well-made film documenting something that the never came pass – the “This Is It” show. Fortunately, I was wrong about it being a bad thing.
This Is It is a nearly two-hour documentary showing how “This Is It” was going to be. It begins more than two months before Jackson’s death with intimate interviews with several of the back-up dancers shortly after being hired for the job, expressing their gratitude and respect to MJ. But with almost no hesitation, the film shows you what you came to see – MJ doing his thing.
Fan or not, there’s no denying the fact that Michael Jackson could perform at age 50 just as well as he could in his prime. While watching it, I had the thought that Michael Jackson must have never gone a day in his life without using his singing voice. A few times throughout the film it shows Jackson singing classic hits in A Capella versions. That man truly mastered his voice. And his dancing skills hadn’t diminished at all. From improvised dancing to the well-choreographed group numbers, Michael still had it.
This Is It does not try to prove anything. It’s sole purpose is to give you one last Michael Jackson performance. The film features a total of 27 of Jackson’s songs, with more than a dozen of them in their full-length. Often times throughout an entire song’s performance, it will seamlessly cut between different rehearsals, showing off different costumes. The only problem some might see in this is that not all of the video’s have the same quality. Sometimes it will cut to grainy footage, but most of the time it’s in beautiful high definition.
After seeing This Is It, I gained an appreciation of Michael Jackson that I didn’t have before – not that it doesn’t show the odd side of MJ, because it does. I never realized how much Jackson had to do with the writing and preforming of the music itself. He was just as much involved in the visual aspect of “This Is It” as he was the musical aspect of his. He was just as much a director and choreographer as he was a performer. I can now agree with the long-time MJ fans in claiming that he was an extremely talented man, making it a bittersweet experience watching This Is It.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures