Like You've Never Seen Him Before
Running Time: 112 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
I cant imagine that if you didnt have some sort of fondness for Michael Jacksons music, youd find yourself watching This Is It. It has a built in fan base already, and if you go in a big fan youll come out an even bigger one. I think, though, that if you go in feeling lukewarm, youll come out a convert, which makes it even more bittersweet and even more a record of something the world may never see again.
This is sort of a strange film to try and talk about to begin with, because really, if Michael Jackson hadnt died in late June of this year, it wouldnt exist. I mean, the footage would exist, as its a compilation of clips and interviews gathered during the rehearsals and prep for Jacksons then-upcoming concerts in London, but who knows where the footage wouldve ended up. As it is, its been used to create a tribute not just to a legendary performer, but to the creative process itself.
Again, its strange to think anyone who wasnt somewhat of a fan already would care enough to see this film, so unlike most reviews, this is kind of a preaching to the choir deal. Its got most of the songs people want to hearBeat It, Billie Jean, and a whole new Thriller set up, plus Jackson 5 stuff, and some older solo hits like Human Natureand you get that feeling like youve gone to a concert and heard everything you hoped for. What sets this apart from most concert films, though, is that it gives us a glimpse into something I personally have always found fascinatinga mind that knows exactly how everything should look, sound, and happen, and knows the precise steps to take to get there. Some have said that Jackson would have never approved of this footage being released in this form because he was such a perfectionist, but its seeing that perfectionists attention to minute detail and interest in every aspect of the show that makes it interesting. Plus, the other artists involved in these concerts were amazing, from the dancers to the band, and while the focus is decidedly on Jackson, the rest of the talent shines through.
Now, lest you think Im one of those rabid fans who trolls message boards looking for chances to defend Michael Jackson, Im not. In fact, I kind of dreaded seeing this film, mainly because it seemed sort of boring. There are a few numbers that go on too long, especially a weird save the world bit that would probably have turned out better than it showed up here in its early stagesand really, is it possible that Jackson was as nice all the time as he was shown to be? Probably not. But in the end, it doesnt matter, because for his fans, this is a satisfying tribute, and for music fans in general, its a look behind the scenes at how a concert is made.
It's Got: A cool new "Thriller" number, behind the scenes footage, all the MJ songs you want to hear
It Needs: Less of that rainforest stuff, more on the "Billie Jean" outfit
Alternatives:Nirvana Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!, Shine a Light, The Wiz
A perfect tribute for fans, This Is It shows the process behind the creative mind AND showcases a bunch of classic pop tunes.