Michael Jackson stage show documentary one of the best films of the year **** 4 stars
By Gabrielle Pantera
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Gosh!TV) 1/26/2010 – “This is it is the telling of Michael Jackson’s last great creative process,” says This Is It choreographer Travis Payne. “We cut together a piece for the fans,” says This Is It director Kenny Ortega.
This Is It doesn’t glamorize Jackson’s life. You get to see how hard he worked and how focused he was at rehearsals. Ortega edited 120 hours of rehearsal footage into the 111-minute documentary. Jackson performs material that spanned his career. All the footage shot was intended for Jackson’s private use, was not intended to be a documentary.
In one scene Jackson tells Ortega he’ll cue the dancers when to react to a scene projected on the stage’s huge screen. Ortega points out that Jackson will have his back to the screen, that he won’t be able to see it. Jackson says, “I’ll just feel it.” When the moment comes, Jackson hits the cue without looking.
The performers who where chosen to work with Jackson came from all over. They just wanted the chance to work with Jackson. Jackson was exacting with his performers. He wanted everything just right. but kept his temper. He asks the performers to do their job “with L-O-V-E.”
This Is It on Blu-ray has the complete uncut versions of Smooth Criminal and Thriller. Smooth Criminal is in black and white. Two new segments show him rehearsing. The making-of for Smooth Criminal is also here. Advancements in technology enable Ortega to have Jackson share the screen with screen legends like Bogart in Smooth Criminal. Jackson loved old Hollywood.
Ortega and Jackson updated Thriller. This new video has new dance moves, and again you can tell Jackson loved movies because he has made it even more visually appealing. There are ghosts, zombies and ghouls.
Jackson was still a great entertainer. It would have been quite a show to see live. Unfortunately, the singer died of a prescription drug overdose before the show opened. This Is It gives a real sense of what Jackson was famous for. It shows a dedicated performer who brought joy to the world of music and dance. After the credits there are few more scenes that you don’t want to miss.
This Is It was produced by Randy Phillips, Kenny Ortega and Paul Gongaware. The executive producers are John Branca and John McClain.
The Songs of This Is It:
- “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”
- “They Don’t Care About Us”
- “Human Nature”
- “Smooth Criminal”
- “The Way You Make Me Feel”
- Jackson 5 Medley
- “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”
- “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”
- “Beat It”
- “Black Or White”
- “Earth Song”
- “Billie Jean”
- “Man in the Mirror”
“This Is It”
- DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 26th
- Starring Michael Jackson
- Director: Kenny Ortega
- Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French
- Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Rating: PG for some suggestive choreography and scary images
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Run Time: 111 minutes