REVIEW: Michael Jackson’s This Is It

26 01 2010

I watched “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” on my plane flight to Argentina a few weeks ago, and it’s exactly the kind of movie that Continental Airlines shouldn’t be showing on their planes.

Why?

Because the movie is a glorious celebration of the music and artistry of Michael Jackson.  It’s a movie that makes you want to sing along with his prodigious hit songs and get out of your seat and bust a move.  Those two things are unfortunately rather tricky to do without earning the extreme ire of your fellow travelers, so I had to settle for humming and toe-tapping.

The multitudes in London would have seen one hell of a show from Jackson last summer.  As visually stunning as the music and dancing, the concert was a multi-sensory spectacle designed to absolutely floor.  Jackson created several new videos for songs such as “Smooth Criminal” and “Thriller,” but there was also plenty of the familiar material that firmly established him as the King of Pop.

The movie isn’t just rehearsal footage of each number; it is a portrait of the man behind the music, a perfectionist with an unbelievable gift and vision.  It never dwells on sadness from Jackson’s death; in fact, it serves as a glorious reminder of all the great music and moments that he gave us.  I didn’t live in the era of his greatest hits, but I do know that he was bigger than anything from my lifetime.  My parents both remember exactly where they were when they saw the “Thriller” music video for the first time – there simply has not been an artist with as much charisma and talent that has drawn in the masses since him.  “This Is It” reminds us that Jackson lives on forever through his music, but we have lost a kind and brilliant artist, man, and father.  Never do these two coexist more beautifully than in the film’s finale, a performance of “Man in the Mirror” that will assuredly make all of Jackson’s fans tear up.  B+ /