Michael Jackson's This Is It

2009-10-30 16:56
 
Michael Jackson's This Is It

What it's about:

The movie takes you behind the scenes as Michael Jackson, his band, dancers and crew rehearse for his series of already-sold-out concerts at the O2 Arena in London. This Is It was shot just weeks before his death on 25 June this year.

What we thought:

Wow. This really is it. You wouldn’t guess from watching Michael Jackson sing, moonwalk, gyrate and prowl the stage during his intense rehearsals, that just a few short weeks later, the pop icon would be dead.

That chilling realisation feels like a sledgehammer to the heart because the evidence presented onscreen tells a story of a performer so attuned to his music, his audience's expectations and the enormity of the project he was undertaking, that he was unstoppable. Even though he was nearing his 51st birthday, and hadn’t performed for a live audience in over a decade, Jackson still appears to still have 'it' – that singular ability to command your attention by simply being in your frame of vision.

When he first appears on stage, running through "They Don't Care About Us" with his dancers, it has the urgency of a live performance, and the trend continues throughout. It is an astonishing and eerie sight. For one, This Is It takes pains to portrays a man who lived and breathed music and performance for the sake of his fans. Jackson is so free of ego and pretence when working on his craft that the entertainment industry’s reputation for breeding divas and posers seems incomprehensible. Collaborating with him every step of the way is his long-time creative partner and the director of the eventual This Is It, Kenny Ortega. Their relationship is harmonious, with Ortega sometimes acting as the pop star's minder - gently scolding him to be safe when taking to the air in a lift crane designed to sweep over the heads of the audience - and ever-mindful of Jackson's every need onstage.

It’s obvious what makes This Is It so compelling. The pleasure is in getting an unprecedented fly-on-the-wall perspective on the music and artistry that went into crafting his legend. Most of the hits, from "Smooth Criminal" and "Billie Jean", to "Human Nature" and "Beat It" are performed in full, with full backing and lighting. All that's missing is the thousands of ravenous fans who had lapped up each and every ticket for the proposed 50 shows.

The rehearsals also leave no doubt that the concerts, had they been realised as Jackson and his team envisioned, were bound to put the biggest Vegas spectacle imaginable to shame. The show incorporates a 3D sequence for "Thriller" featuring a cast of lolling zombies, aerial acrobatics, eye-popping pyrotechnics and the kind of choreography Jackson fans are all too familiar with. Those moves, still astounding to behold, seem to come forth as easily as his next breath. Jackson's troupe of dancers deserve a round of applause too. In the opening scenes of the movie, they tearfully share their disbelief at the loss of a golden opportunity to work with their idol, but in the footage of them onstage, their dreams are all still going to come true. Lean, agile and finely attuned to their leader's every move, they define poetry in motion, even viewed through choppy camera angles on a bare stage. 

There have been numerous conflicting claims about the state of his health during those last few weeks. Far from being conclusive proof that Jackson was indeed fit and prepared for his gruelling live schedule, This Is It shows a performer whose best days are behind him, but who still puts his whole heart into what he loves best. To say that he looks out of it at times is par for the course since he hasn’t looked quite himself for a very long time. And even when his voice and body can't keep up with the boundless energy around him, Jackson still soldiers on.

"Why do you do this to me? I shouldn't be singing right now. I have to save my voice," he complains after an impassioned duet with back-up singer Judith Hill on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". But the mischievous smile on his face tells a different story.

This Is It is precisely what the fans want in the wake of Jackson's death - an opportunity to see him at work, perfecting what he did best. The circus surrounding his persona and numerous controversies is omitted, leaving behind the unshakeable image of a flawed hero who will forever remain a mystery. There will be tears, goosebumps, loud whoops of joy and moments of quiet wonder in the audience at This Is It screenings over the next two weeks.

* The premiere of Michael Jackson's This Is It was hosted by Ster-Kinekor Theatres. The movie will run at cinemas for a limited period of two weeks.



An unprecedented look into Michael Jackson's creative world as he prepares for the comeback that never was.

Goda 2009/10/28 10:57 AM
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I love his music (especially after too many tequilas) and this movie sounds fascinating.
POST MY COMMENTS PLEASE 2009/10/28 11:06 AM
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There will never be another humanitarian, a humbled human being as this man, he lived as the "king of pop" and still holds this title unto death. It will be difficult for any person to try and topple him after this movie
Kido 2009/10/28 12:16 PM
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Wow the legend lives on, love his music that movie it's must watch!!!! Love U Michael
Jerome 2009/10/28 12:59 PM
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i went for the premiere this morning at Gateway and all i can say is that it was awesome, being a huge Michael Jackson fan i tremendously enjoyed it but most importantly i think the single most improtant factor that will make this movie a huge success is that although he had sold out 51 Concerts in Londons O2 arena he has now sold out Cinema Theatres all over the world for the stage he so rightly deserved and owned.
Vaneshree 2009/10/28 1:13 PM
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WOW WOW WOW...I was there at 3am, THIS IS IT is how I'm going to remember Michael Jackson the LEGEND! A must see!!! Enjoy (^^,)
MJ Fan 4eva 2009/10/28 1:54 PM
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I was at 4ways this morning - OMG Long live the King of Pop. Wonderful watching the Genius that is Michael Jackson. Will definitely see it again !!!
Bonnie Mohale 2009/10/28 3:46 PM
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MJ lives he will forever be in my mind. I was at Gateway yesterday and everything that has been said about him being a perfectionist is true. The man knew what he wanted and when he did not like what he was hearing he would gently tell the sound engineer that it was not what he wanted. wow !!!
Vinash 2009/10/28 3:59 PM
I got tickets to watch it on Sunday can't wait - taking the whole family. Would have really wanted to go watch the premier. Btw those that attended the one at Gateway- what was the MJ gift they gave? Just curious :-) I want to get the MJ opus- heard it was really cool to have
Wilna van Wyk 2009/10/28 3:59 PM
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WOW, I shaw "This is it" @ 3 o'clock this morning in Fourways and it was absolutely great! The world has lost not only the KING of POP but a great and amazing man who will be greatly missed by all of his fans We love YOU! Michael
Amanda 2009/10/28 4:02 PM
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...Jacko,U will live forever in our hearts,what a shining STAR you were....I get speechless everytime I think about You.No words can ever explain the BEST you were...
Thami 2009/10/28 4:23 PM
You will forever live in my heart.You were...no... let me re-phrase...you are the best thing that ever happened to the music industry...love you always micheal
Julius 2009/10/28 4:25 PM
The BEST ............Julius
thuli 2009/10/28 7:01 PM
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wow,glad to have seen it,no regrets,just wonder and applause.MJ doing what he does best.A task master yet gentle and humble at the same time.Funny how he said he was 'sizzling'and he was!Cant wait for dvd,seeing it again tomorrow. Into emnandi iya phindwa ie if the dish is delish,got to go for seconds!!! Death-You have truly robbed us. R.I.P dear one.You are sorely missed
thuli 2009/10/28 7:11 PM
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wow,glad to have seen it,no regrets,just wonder and applause.MJ doing what he does best.A task master yet gentle and humble at the same time.Funny how he said he was 'sizzling'and he was!Cant wait for dvd,seeing it again tomorrow. Into emnandi iya phindwa ie if the dish is delish,got to go for seconds!!! Death-You have truly robbed us. R.I.P dear one.You are sorely missed
chez 2009/10/29 7:39 AM
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The movie was just wonderful but also very sad. We got a glimpse of the real person and what a beautiful gentle soul he was. I must admit to a small belief in him molesting kids but after seeing the movie, i cannot see how such a gentle person would ever do that. It just seems so far from who he was. I will see the movie again and buy the dvd - and i was never a huge fan but this movie changed my perception.
MJ Fan - NOT 2009/10/29 8:30 AM
Why anybody would want to waste their time and money by watching a movie about that revolting bleached runt I cannot imagine? Catch a wake up call, all you fans, you are the ones banging on about child molesting, protect the children etc. It is the height of hypocrisy to now tacidly support someone with such a dodgy background. Would you let your child spend the night with MJ???
@MJ fan-Not 2009/10/29 8:35 AM
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So you will judge the person without going to any effort to know the facts first? Man am i glad i don't know you. why even coem to this website if you aren't a fan? i don't like Miley Cyrus so i don't waste time going to her website. are you bored or lonely?
Joanne 2009/10/29 8:47 AM
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MJ was a consummate performer, a perfectionist, and an absolute gentleman!!! To MJ FAN - NOT you should go watch the movie and see for yourself. He never knew that the public was going to watch the movie/rehearsal and hence he was NOT acting. He was simply himself and I think that all those MJ haters out there are most definitely SADLY MISTAKEN about the man he was. The world has lost a great treasure in you MJ. Love you forever!!!
@MJ not fan 2009/10/29 10:24 AM
MJ not fan what a despicable human being, who are you to judge a person that was proven not guilty, you think you better than the law, MJ loved people and especially kids too much to hurt him. An injustice was done towards him by his accusers, they stole his beautiful and humble spirit and killed him spiritually. MJ will be loved be million so one idiot like you don't count.
Jerome 2009/10/29 12:08 PM
@MJ fan-Not you are an idito, i am a huge fan of MJ but ill be the first to admit that all the child molestation charges brought against him really did make me wonder but after watching the movie i can convincingly say that they just extorted money out of him, wait and see one of these so called abusees will come out and say they lied about the whole fiasco
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