This Is It
I grew up in the 80’s, so I was just getting into music around the time that Michael Jackson was hitting huge popularity as a solo artist post Jackson 5 days. In fact I still personally loathe Bonnie Tyler’s big hit “Total eclipse of the heart” because it knocked beat off the number one spot and I have never got over it. Watching him morph musically and physically over the years has been an interesting journey. Of course despite the scandal that followed Jackson through his latter decades, no one could deny the musical genius that is Michael Jackson. So of course when he passed away earlier this year it was a huge loss to the music world. Right on the edge of what could have been arguably the biggest comeback in history.
So here comes a taste of what we have missed out on. “This is it” a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concert that would have taken place beginning this summer in London’s O2 Arena. “This is it” was produced with the full support of the Estate of Michael Jackson and drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show.
From what I understand this footage was originally shot just for Jackson’s viewing, which makes it quite the inside scoop. However it does lead itself to a lot of ego stroking from those around him. Of course though no doubt some of the awe that comes from the people around him is very real, there are some over the top somewhat greasy reactions to Jackson.
Although the footage is not complete and the performances are obviously running at less than a hundred percentage energy and without full costumes and props, Jackson shows that he is a musical force and is still captivating to watch. It certainly helps when you realize that you know all of the songs by heart. So there are plenty of sing-along moments.
One of the other parts of this documentary that is intriguing, is the behind the scenes preparation that you get to see, as they shoot new big screen footage. From the 3D footage for Thriller through to the cleverly merged film footage for Smooth Criminal. As you see Jackson performing in somewhat of an actor role, in what is the building of a phenomenal audio visual live show.
In general the quality of performance isn’t perfect and the footage at times is pieced together from various different rehearsals. But Michael Jackson is still enthralling and an absolute musical genius.
“This is it” is thoroughly enjoyable and a thrill to watch on the big screen. Oh and watch for the awesome guitaring by Orianthi Panagaris.
Reviewed by: Jon E
Releases: 28th October 2009
Running time: 111 minutes
Genre: Documentary Music
Starring: Michael Jackson & Kenny Ortega
Director: Kenny Ortega