There are few performers on Earth who’ve had the transformative and inspirational power that Michael Jackson had. In his documentary, “This Is It,” the late singer takes us on a behind-the-scenes ride as we witness him prepare for what was supposed to be his final concert. The end result is a testament to Jackson’s talent and the influence he had on people.
“This Is It” is told through footage that Jackson was planning to have for his own personal collection. Through various rehearsals, we are given an inside look as to how Jackson conducted himself and the way he ruled the stage.
Although I would never consider myself a hardcore fan of Jackson, I can appreciate what he brought to the musical community and the way he changed the face of music itself. What’s displayed on the screen here is indeed mesmerizing as we watch Jackson practice his dance moves and give his all for what he loved to do most, which was perform.
Although Jackson is indeed a force to be reckoned with, the way the director, crew and performers talk to him borders on being sycophantic with a hint of condescension. Nearly every suggestion that Jackson makes is treated with unanimous approval. Of course, Jackson’s been doing this a very long time and does know what he’s doing, but it just appears as if people are somewhat afraid to make comments to him or question what might be best for the concert.
On the other side, though, Jackson doesn’t necessarily act like a diva. He’s more of a perfectionist, trying desperately to get everything perfect for those it matters to most: his fans. Seeing him in this light we realize just how much Jackson wanted to do this, not just for the money, which he was in need of, but also for those who have
supported him over the years.
So, is this a cash-in? Any movie that focuses solely on a person just a few short months after their death must have more than just good intentions at heart. Sure, “This Is It” will make money, but it’s not there specifically for that. We could’ve received just a cut and dried account of Jackson with this concert, but everything that we’re shown proves that there’s someone behind this movie who has more than just money in mind.
There have been some claims in the media recently that not all the footage of Jackson here is real, with many people saying that lookalikes and body doubles were used for this production. From what I saw, those claims appear to be nothing more than unsubstantiated gossip. Although he doesn’t look very well, Jackson still appears to be able to give it his all.
One of the best parts of this film is just being able to sit back and enjoy the music that Jackson has given us. With hits such as “Beat It,” “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal,” even if you’re not particularly interested in what goes on behind the scenes, everyone can still enjoy this movie for what it is: a celebration of an artist.
I don’t mean for this review to sound like a gushing love letter to Jackson. It’s not. Everyone knows of the difficulties Jackson had in his life, but that’s not what the movie is about and that’s not what this review is trying to uncover. Jackson’s past is just that and “This Is It” is a celebration of everything Jackson had tried to do with his career. Based solely on that, this movie works well.
Whether you refer to him as “The King of Pop” or “Whacko Jacko,” the one thing that can’t be denied is Jackson’s infectious love for his work and his endless charisma in everything he did. While Jackson may be gone, “This Is It” will live on.