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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 as to try to stop the film agreement in August. The film has also been surrounded by multiple controversies, including a Jackson body double hoax; which Sony denied, and an outrage from Jackson fans; with some going as far as to start a protest against the film.

On August 10, 2009, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved a deal between Michael Jackson's estate, concert promoter AEG Live, and Sony Pictures. This allowed Sony Pictures to edit the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage needed to create the motion picture. Sony subsequently paid $60 million for the film rights. The trailer first premiered during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, along with the simultaneous launching of the film's official website. To date, the film has broken numerous box office records via tickets sales worldwide. The film was released to mainly positive reviews from both critics and Jackson fans; the film's portrayal of Jackson and his performances were generally praised, while criticism mainly consisted of both critics and fans having felt that the film was made just to profit off Jackson's death and that Jackson wouldn't have wanted the film released because he was a "perfectionist".

The film opens with a short text introduction stating the purpose of the footage and its intent "For the fans...". After short dialogues from various dancers, Kenny Ortega is heard talking through the original concert opening sequence involving a body suit made from screens which display fast clips and images with bright intensity from which Jackson emerges on stage. Immediately after this, Jackson begins "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" first solo, which pauses half-way through and a small snippet of Jackson singing his song "Speechless" acapella is shown. Jackson is then joined by dancers and completes the first number. A short clip showing rehearsals of the "toaster" mechanism is shown before rehearsal footage of "Jam" is played. This plays directly into the green screen adaption of soldiers dancers for "Bad" which are also used for "They Don't Really Care About Us" which is shown next. From here, the film shows Michael directing Ortega and his band for his solo rehearsal performance of "Human Nature" which he performs acapella, then acoustic and finally with full band. Green screen rehearsals for the video vignette for "Smooth Criminal" come next, with dress rehearsals of the song following, including parts of the vignette intertwined with the dancing. Jackson is seen next directing his musical team for the cues in his song "The Way You Make Me Feel." Jackson then performs a rehearsal with dancers which he alters and changes as he goes. A small animatic introducing the Jackson 5 is shown afterwards, and Michael then rehearses "I Want You Back", "The Love You Save", "I'll Be There" and "Shake Your Body." Jackson stops only to report problems with his earpiece. After this, Jackson sings with one of his back up singers on his duet song "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" in which he sings at full strength, directing his partner as he goes. The filming for the "Thriller" vignette is then shown with Jackson and Ortega watching with 3D glasses. Jackson is then seen rehearsing "Thriller" with the vignette intertwined like that in "Smooth Criminal."

During the dance sequence, puppets are suspended in the audience aisles while Jackson emerges from a robotic spider originally seen in the vignette. Jackson and Ortega rehearsing the cherry-picker is seen next, along with Jackson rehearsing "Beat It." Jackson creates the ending he wants for the song, a long drum build up in which he tears off his jacket and burns it. Footage of the show's aerialists rehearsing to the instrumental of "Who Is It" is shown next, followed by the Jackson and his band rehearsing "Black or White," in which he allows guitarist Orianthi Panagaris to take center stage to finish with a high guitar rift. The video-sequence for "Earth Song" is shown next, featuring a small girl who wanders through an abundant forest, falls asleep, and wakes up to find the forest destroyed by man. Jackson then performs the song both onstage and using the cherry-picker, with his voice being heard at the end telling of the dangers of Global Warming and the lack of reversible time left. Afterwards, Michael is seen conversing with Ortega, his dancers and band about the shows, trivial dance moves and his hopes for the concert series. He then performs a quick version of his song "Billie Jean" featuring an extra dance sequence. Michael is then seen talking to all crew members and wishing everyone the best for the London performances. At a sound check, Jackson performs "Man In The Mirror" with strong backing vocals. The film ends with Jackson with his arms extended on stage with the message: "Michael Jackson King of Pop Love Lives Forever"

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Details

CastMichael Jackson
DirectorKenny 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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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 …
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