[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3452&w=o[/img]Title: Michael Jackson’s This Is It
Starring: Michael Jackson
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Release Date: 1/26/2010
Being a songwriter and musician myself, I have a lot of respect for Michael Jackson but I am not exactly what you would call a fan. I liked some of the songs off of “Thriller”, along with millions of other people in the world, but that was in 1982. I had just turned 11 and was on the verge of discovering Heavy Metal. Needless to say, I never really paid much attention to him after that until the accusations of his relationships with children started making the news in the 90’s. And like the most other people, any interest I had in him quickly disappeared and was replaced with disgust.
When I read that Michael was doing a farewell concert series in London I remember thinking “He must finally be out of money from all of those lawsuits”. When I read about his death I remember thinking how much of a shame it was that he had to go out in such a way. There was so much controversy that surrounded the latter half of his life and his death that there was going to be a ton of emotions tied to this on a global scale. When I read that his estate was making “This Is It” I immediately thought “Wow, even in death people can’t stop exploiting this man for their personal gain.” I had absolutely no desire to see this movie much less to do a review of it.
“This is it” is a documentary about Michael Jackson’s farewell concert series that was set to kick off in London in July 2009. The movie was edited together from over 100 hours of footage that was shot over the course of three months in 2009. One of the things that stood out to me was how the filmmakers mirrored the overall theme of the planned show. The concerts were to pay homage to Michael’s career and highlight the brightest moments. The movie keeps that vision intact by showing the viewers the brightest and most inspiring moments from the rehearsals. Interviews and commentaries from those involved in the production felt candid and sincere and the overall feel of the movie was genuine. Michael’s involvement with the production really shows how committed he was to the vision of the show and more importantly to his fans. In the end the movie presents Michael in a very positive light.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3454&w=o[/img]“This is it” really gave me an appreciation for the work that goes into such a big production. It made me think of all those old Iron Maiden and Ronnie James Dio concerts in the 80’s I attended that blew me away with huge set designs, pyrotechnics and fantastic light shows. More importantly, it gave me a new respect for Michael Jackson as a performer and creative genius that I never would have grasped otherwise. I also felt very sorry that the world would not be able to experience this grand spectacle in all of its glory because it truly was going to be an extraordinary site to see.
If there is one negative about this movie it would have to be the exploitive nature of the film itself. I never really felt its presence in the movie; it was more of a thought that kept popping up in the back of my mind. Taken for what it is, “This is it” is good documentary and a great tribute to Michael Jackson. That being said, this movie is not the definitive reflection on Michael Jacksons life. This movie is designed to show how much heart was going into the show, the love and appreciation Michael had for his fans and the tragedy surrounding his death by showing the viewer what could never be. In the end, that is exactly what it achieves.
Michael Jackson fans will love this movie, music fans will appreciate the complexity and creativity that goes into the production of such a show and Michael’s critics will continue to be critical. This movie will not change any opinion you have of Michael Jackson as a person but it will remind you that there was more to him than that one opinion.
The rating is appropriate, nothing really stood out as offensive.
“This is it” is presented in MPEG-4 AVC 1080P with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The video presentation is a mixed bag. I found the high definition to be very rich in detail and depth and the standard definition footage to pale in comparison. I think taken for what it is, a lot of footage that was probably never to see the light of day, this is a great looking transfer but it is not something I would consider reference quality. I really wish it could have been a high definition transfer of the show in its entirety but that was not meant to be.
“This is it” is heard in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and unlike the video; I believe the music productions on this disc to be near reference quality. Any fan of Michael Jackson sitting on the fence on this one should just buy it. It will not replace what was taken from you but it will definitely bring a smile to your face. Honestly, I was at a loss for words when I first heard the music.
Sony put a lot of extras for fans to look at however, what was suspiciously missing were any deleted scenes. I find it hard to believe that with over 100 hours of film, there were no deleted scenes. (Double Dip coming soon.) Staging the Return, Auditions: Searching for the World’s Greatest Dancers, The Gloved One, Memories of Michael, Theatrical Trailer, Smooth Criminal Vignette, Thriller Vignette, Making Smooth Criminal and Movie IQ.
Like I said in the beginning, I am not a huge Michael Jackson fan. I did not run out and buy all of his CD’s when he passed or even after I watched this movie however; for anyone to deny his creative genius and the impact that he had on the music industry as well as our culture would be tragic. The only thing worse is to know that the world will never have the opportunity to see the final vision. I am really glad I got the opportunity to review this movie because I would not have watched it otherwise.