This Is It
Starring Michael Jackson
Directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical 3)
Rated PG for some suggestive choreography and scary images
Appropriate for all ages
I was in grade school when Michael Jackson’s hit album Thriller hit the scene and for years he was it. We all wanted to be like Mike, and not the basketball player. We wore the glove, donned gaudy zipper-laden red leather jackets, and butchered the moonwalk. From that point on he was known as the King of Pop and he earned the title.
But then things got freaky. Since I graduated from college, I buried all the good MJ memories, and the thoughts of chimps and child molestation were all I could muster up until his recent death. At the time of his death I didn’t even think it was tragic I was so cold to the thought of him.
So needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this movie. I was not going to be one of those folks that jumped on the sadness bandwagon, bought more of his music just so I could have a better-sounding version, and start wailing at his rendition of Smile. I did not want to like this movie. But as the Rolling Stones once sang – you can’t always get what you want.
I’m not quite certain that this movie was ever meant to be a movie. It feels more like the special features section of a DVD, but that being said, I firmly believe that is what makes the film work so well. Were it just a concert video, showing the finished product, you would get to see the Michael Jackson that he and his people wanted you to see – polished and show-ready. What we get instead here is an intimate look at what he was really like. And all of the negative thoughts just seemed to float away as I was brought back to why I liked Michael so much in the first place: he was one hell of talent. The guy worked on a level that was saved for the most brilliant of history’s musicians.
Watching him backstage preparing for what were going to be 50 sold-out London shows, you get to see a side of Michael that he probably didn’t want to show many people, and on only a couple of instances during the course of the movie was I reminded of his strange eccentricities.
So what really works here is that this isn’t Michael at his best, but rather Michael showing what it took to be the best. And now I must admit that I do miss him a little bit. A-