Movie Review: Michael Jackson: This Is It

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
By Abbey Khan

This Is It is the concert Michael Jackson fans have been waiting for. Full set performances of Jackson’s most popular songs taken from various rehearsals from March to June, 2009, are pieced together under the direction of Kenny Ortega. In true Jackson form, plenty of theatrics were involved in the production, most notably that of Thriller. Scenes were also filmed with Jackson rooted into old Hollywood movies in black and white where he catches a glove thrown by Rita Hayworth in Gilda, and Jackson trying to escape Humphrey Bogart‘s attempts to gun him down for his song Smooth Criminal.

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The film creates a sense of nostalgia with clips of a young Michael performing with his brothers during his Jackson 5 days, which is used as an intro to Jackson rehearsing I’ll be There and I Want You Back with his backup singers. Jackson doesn’t speak very much in the film, but he does talk about the negative impact mankind has had on the environment and nature stating, “This planet is sick, like a fever” and “I love this planet.”

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Anyone hoping to crack the code that is Michael Jackson, the man and not the artist, will be highly disappointed. This Is It is a concert and nothing more. This two hour feature gives no insight into Jackson’s world and only confirms what is already known about him, a grandiose performer who demands perfection from himself.

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Apart from Jackson, the other star of This Is It is Ortega, who gets an ample amount of screen time. Ortega may be credited as the director, but it is evident throughout the film that MJ is the one giving direction while Ortega invariably agrees with him.

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Recommendation: B
When This Is It comes out on blu ray and DVD, it would make a great collectible for Michael Jackson fans. The film is entertaining and you find yourself singing along with Jackson, but it’s a two hour concert without the intermission, and does not document Jackson’s last days as expected. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten tickets before they sold out, then true fans should see it on IMAX screens to capture the full effect of MJ’s performances.

This Is It is a Sony Pictures’ release and opens nationwide for two weeks only on October 28, 2009.

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MaryJane Recent comment authors
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This film was about the making of the concert and it was just that. I was impressed with all that goes into each show. Frankly I have had enough of who he was and why he died and if I want more there are plenty of sites to learn it. I was mesmerized by the film and would see it again. It give one a greater respect for the artist (MJ) and leaves you sad because there will be no more concerts. I also felt for the dancers who travelled a long distance to try out for MJ and made… Read more »