First of all, it was crazy windy and I still went to the movie. Points for me! And I stayed awake. More points for me!
The movie should more than satisfy any Jackson fan and even those who weren't. At its core it's that backstage look at the putting together of a major show by a major superstar -- glimpses of a world few of us will ever have the opportunity to see.
I was not a Jackson fan. I didn't dislike him. I sang along and grooved to his music whenever it came on the radio, but I never bought an album (yes, as in vinyl), CD, DVD or anything else produced with his likeness, and I was completely entranced by this film, which is lovingly culled from 80 hours of footage by the very talented choreographer/director, Kenny Ortega.
It starts out with the audition of the dancers as they speak into the camera, bearing their emotions as they tell us what Michael (or MJ, as he's often called) and this opportunity to perform with him means to them. The theme of the film, and the tour, and Michael's fragile life, was always love and these amazingly talented young people unabashedly express that love not only in words, but through the 110% they give in their performances.
It took me a while to get past Michael's appearance. He looks so frail and his face, that face that he methodically distorted so as not to look anything like his much-detested father, reveals a deep internal struggle to prove to the world that he's still the king, while at the same time someone who is exhausted from continually having to prove himself. But get past that I did, and you will too, because there is so much more to this film and to Michael.
What struck me the strongest is that his inherent sweetness, gentleness, and joy; his love for the music and for everyone around him and, yes, for the world, still shines like a beacon. That's his humanity. But there is something else, his genius, that comes through so strongly and seems almost inhuman in that it's hard to grasp that any mere mortal could be capable of transforming themselves so completely into their instrument.
Fans of Michael's music will not be disappointed. It's all there. Watching him rehearse a song, putting together every beat in meticulous coordination with lighting and effects, along with his interaction with his musicians, is absolutely dazzling and showcases his brilliance in a way that is completely devastating as one realizes that amazing light is gone forever.
I could go on, but this is just my experience. Yours will be unique to your feelings about Michael, his music, and his life, but I will say that just purely on a level of a rock 'n' roll movie, "This Is It" delivers and then some. I doubt anyone will be disappointed.
Leaving the Guilt Behind
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