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A behind-the-scenes film that shows Michael Jackson getting ready for his would-be London O2 shows released on October 28, 2009.

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The King of Pop Bids Farewell

  • Nov 10, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
"Michael Jackson's This Is It" is a bittersweet experience. How can it not be? It's safe to say that the footage it contains is the last to show Michael Jackson alive. No, not merely alive - he practically surges with energy as he dances on stage in ways we've come to expect (save for the Moonwalk, shown ever so briefly at a disappointingly odd angle). We see not the frail fifty-year-old beaten down by years of legal battles, molestation allegations, financial woes, and drug abuse, but a seemingly tireless entertainer flawlessly keeping up with his much younger background dancers. Could he have been counteracting his nightly propofol injections with a daily dose of uppers? It's a reasonable possibility. Propofol is not meant to be used as a sleeping aid, but as the first stage of general anesthesia and only under the supervision of trained physicians.

Be that as it may, this film reveals that Jackson was still capable of putting on a good show even weeks before his death. Compiled from hours of footage shot during the rehearsals of his comeback concert tour, "This Is It" is astounding entertainment, assembled under the supervision of Kenny Ortega to play more or less as a real concert would have played. The only exceptions are the moments of backstage conversing, in which Jackson, Ortega, and numerous dancers and musicians discuss the direction of the show and ways in which to improve it. When a mistake is made, no one reacts badly; Jackson in particular shows remarkable compassion by saying, "This is why we have rehearsals." His fellow performers listen attentively, not only because they want to put on the best possible show for concertgoers, but also because ... well, because they're working with Michael Jackson.

Indeed, there is something powerful, if a little dramatic, about how devoted the background dancers are to the King of Pop. Just after the opening titles, we see footage of young men and women gushing over him, thanking him from the bottoms of their hearts for giving them this opportunity. Some are reduced to tears. Would they react this way in the presence of any other singer? More to the point, has any other singer instilled such deep feelings within his or her fan base? You watch them completely transfixed, and while you may not share their point of view, you almost certainly will feel the adoration coming off the screen.

The same can be said for the intensity of the concert footage. Every song is carefully orchestrated and masterfully combined with mesmerizing dance sequences. "They Don't Care About Us" combines live dancers with a screen full of futuristic soldiers moving to the rhythms (this effect was achieved by means of motion-capture technology). "Thriller" and "Smooth Criminal" are accompanied by elaborate filmed sequences; the former features a newly shot graveyard sequence while the latter features Jackson digitally combined with screen idols like Rita Hayworth and Humphrey Bogart. "Black or White" ends with a fantastic electric guitar duel that will have you applauding. "Human Nature" and "Billie Jean" rely less on special effects and more on Jackson's dancing abilities; this isn't as visually stunning, but it certainly feels more personal.

Where on earth did Jackson find the energy for this? Watching him in "This Is It," you almost forget that he ended up dying of cardiac arrest brought on by a drug overdose. You also almost forget that the overdose was brought on by years of addiction; when you have to rely on potentially lethal medications like propofol, lorazepam, and midazolam for something as ordinary as sleep, it stands to reason that one would not be functional the next day, or any other day. And yet there's Jackson, up on stage moving his body with the speed and agility of a man half his age. Right up to the end, he still had it. But one wonders: Would he have been able to maintain that level of energy if he had lived to start his concert tour?

"This is my final curtain call," Jackson said when announcing his comeback tour at London's O2 arena back in March. "This is it." These words sounded ominous even then. I don't claim to be a diehard Michael Jackson fan, but all the same, I think it would have been interesting to see him try rebuilding his career. What other albums would have been released? Could there have been something even more successful than "Thriller," which won eight Grammys and is currently the best-selling album of all time? What songs would we have heard on them? Would any of them be played on the radio? Even though we'll never hear anything new from the King of Pop, we can at least be grateful for the music he left us with. We can also be grateful for "Michael Jackson's This Is It," which is not only a fine example of music, choreography, and staging, but is also one of the most entertaining documentaries I've ever seen.

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More Michael Jackson's "This Is It" reviews
review by . March 03, 2010
posted in MJJCommunity
I was finally able to see this "highly anticipated" film once it came out on DVD.  Overall I would recommend this film to anyone that has any interest in Michael Jackson and his music.      Experience Overall my experience with This Is It was great! To me it was unreal when Michael Jackson passed away. I can’t say I was a diehard fan, but I definitely can say I was big fan. His music always made me want to get up and dance. When I heard his songs, they …
review by . June 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tomorrow, June 25, marks the 1 year anniversary of Michael Jackson's tragic and untimely death.
With Michael Jackson's children in mind, they lost a wonderful father, and I, along with other fans, have lost a true musical genius, a man whose generosity is unsurpassed, and a gentle soul who loved everyone.      I saw This Is It when it first came out in the theater; I was so excited to see this masterpiece that Kenny Ortega had put together so quickly.  When the DVD came out, I bought that too and have watched it several times since.      I admit, …
review by . October 30, 2009
posted in MJJCommunity
@Nando1 and I went to go see "This Is It" yesterday. I LOVED IT! I do wish that it was more like how the show would've been since they had the footage but, I also really liked that you get to see Michael as he was. Now, my disclaimer that I thought of after reading @KevinTRod's review, I am not a professional reviewer nor, even though I studied film, do I ever pay extra attention to the technical aspects of a film. It has to be a pretty obvious error for me to even …
review by . November 07, 2009
Too bad
Love him or hate him or even just not understand him, Michael Jackson might have been the most popular name in the world.  The man behind the name, his own 'Man In The Mirror', embodied great talent and equal amounts of flawed struggle.  This documentary showcases preparations for what was shaping up to be a game-changing concert tour.  In that regard, the film focuses solely on the creative force of Michael Jackson.      Ladies and gentlemen, the trailer   …
review by . August 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Surprisingly Interesting Movie
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. Like a lot of other people I grew up with the sights and sounds of Michael Jackson, with that I mean that I was born in the same year as him. His music always intrigued me and I have enjoyed hearing the music from thriller and all of the albums that he put out. But, with the death of MJ he was just as big as Elvis Presley. Why are all of the really talented artist taken from us early, and why is it that more times …
review by . October 29, 2009
Title: This Is It   Director: Kenny Ortega    Staring: Michael Jackson    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1    Studio: Sony Pictures   Genre(s): Concert/Documentary    Rated:       (For some suggestive choreography and scary images)   Buy From Amazon.com: DVD / BluRay / UMD / Soundtrack / Soundtrack (MP3) / Poster CONSUMER ADVICE Parents, except for Michael's crotch grabbing there's not much to object to here. Recommended …
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
hmm
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
reminded me what a talent we've lost, despite the oddities; gives a glimpse into a troubled and complex mind
review by . June 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
THIS IS IT is now all there is. Watching this film in the DVD format in the home strikes many chords for almost every viewer. Michael Jackson's life was made far too public and this brief recording of the preparations for his final tour sets much straight about why he was such a remarkable talent. It allows us to forget all the raucous press that hounded him during his life and simply watch Michael Jackson doing what he did best - perform. Some of his gifts can be listed. Creative body language …
review by . May 14, 2010
Real-life thriller
The rehearsals for Michael Jackson's last tour were filmed and provide a stunning look at a superstar entertainer and consummate professional at work. We see him sing and dance many songs along with the special effects that contributed so much to the dynamic show. The film itself is more home movie than documentary; comments from the show staff come later in the extras.       I hadn't followed Jackson's life for years and assumed he was past his prime, but this film completely …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Michael Jackson's This Is It is a 2009 American concert film documenting Michael Jackson's rehearsals of the concert series of the same name (scheduled to start on July 13, 2009, but cancelled because of his death on June 25, 2009), both on stage and behind the scenes. The film shows Jackson mentoring his team for the 50 shows, as well as him creating, developing, and ultimately staging the high-tech performances. The film's director Ortega confirmed that when Jackson had filmed footage of himself rehearsing that he never had the intention of releasing it to the public, but after Jackson's death, it was agreed that the film be made and released for Jackson's fans. The footage was filmed at The Forum and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Despite originally being set for an October 30, 2009, release date, the film's release date was rescheduled for October 28, 2009; due to a strong demand by Jackson's fans. The film was given a wide worldwide release and a limited two-week theatrical run from October 28, to November 12, 2009. Tickets went on sale a month early on September 27, 2009, to satisfy a high anticipated demand.

Since the confirmation of the film, AEG Live had faced criticism mostly consisting of theories that they'd only made the film solely for them to be able to make a profit off Jackson. Multiple members of Jackson's family had confirmed that they didn't support the film and some family members went as far...

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Details

Director: Kenny Ortega
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: 10/28/2009
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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