Hey all, Rob (the resident JP editor) chiming in with a very rare post. Yes, I should contribute more, I know, but Marc writes so well! 😉
Ahem, today though I’d like to give a “mini-review” about Michael Jackson’s “This is It”. I say mini-review, because to tell the truth, I think to do a full GST review would not be fair to this movie due to a variety of reasons. 1. Most people going to see this movie are going to be biased. I mean, come on, it’s Michael Jackson, if you don’t like him, you won’t see it. 2. It’s a pseudo documentary as well, so to review it as a “movie” movie would be unfair.
For those who are unaware (that is living under a rock) the trailer for you:
The short of it: If you liked Michael Jackson, or to be more exact, his music, dancing, and/or the impact he had on the music industry over the last 30+ years, then you will see this movie, enjoy it, and come out feeling a profound loss, knowing that you will never get the chance to see him perform not only live, but to see what would have been an amazing show.
The long of it: In a word, impressive. Not the documentary itself so much, but the fact that this concert tour was something that Michael really did involve himself down to the very small details. From choosing dancers, filming segments, timing the music, lighting, and so on. Through a mix of rehearsal footage, interviews, and said prepared segments for the concert, you get a peek at what would have going on right now if he had not passed away.
While the documentary has the little interviews with the dancers, and involved staff, they are fairly sparse, and this is ok, because, hey, we all loved his music, so we know where the staff and dancers are coming from when they speak their parts, and we envy them for being able to be where they are. But refraining from having too much “interviews” leaves most of the time to show his rehearsals in full, with some pretty much being the “final dress rehearsal” the real deal so to say.
In regards to camera work, some of the other clips shown starting out with the SD fuzzy camera that was seen soon after his death when a rehearsal clip of “They Don’t Care About Us” was shown on the news worldwide. However, it’s interesting to see that as the documentary goes on, we gradually move up until we have clear high def cameras covering the rehearsal. By the end of the documentary, you feel like you’re in the front row and watching him, the quality of the video and sound cranks itself up and the film progresses. You’re tapping your feet, nodding your head, and singing along to Smooth Criminal, Thriller, The Way You Make Me Feel, Billie Jean and so on.
And then it ends.
Enter profound sense of loss, as you realize you won’t get to see any of that live. After London it was rumored he would take the show around the world, with Japan itself supposed one of the next venues planned. If seeing only rehearsal footage can get you going, when you imagine what it could have been live…. Well, you get the picture.
Lastly, despite the news and the hype saying Michael was sick, and out of shape, he moves, sings, and dance like someone who is decades younger. Of course the magic of editing prevents us from seeing the bad days, of which I’m sure there were, but what you see is someone who would have given his all at the shows.
So, if you’re a MJ fan at all, you’ll enjoy this peek into what would have been. And on a more cynical level, it’s obviously bringing in much money, so Sony has felt that it’s worth extending the theater run another few weeks, so that’ll give people more time to get out and see it.
As I said, this mini-review would be biased, but given the subject matter, as I mentioned in the beginning, you’re not going to go if you don’t like it.
As a side note, one that won’t apply to those back home, but I had the opportunity to see the document this last weekend at Lalaport Yokohama, home of one of the giant Toho Cinemas (basically one of the main chains of movie theaters in Japan), and they had two theaters running it nonstop through the weekend, to packed seats. Being that the is Japan, the conversation parts were of course subtitled in Japanese. Interestingly the songs were not. I guess the music is universal enough that people are expected to know what the songs are about…?
G-S-T Ruling: 3.5/5
G-S-T Seal of Approval: GRANTED