Before all the plastic surgery madness and child-abuse accusations, Michael Jackson was universally loved,admired and in extreme cases worshiped. He revived pop music that was an almost forgotten genre in the seventies. His songs were catchy and his videos catchier. The kind of euphoria one attached to him was unprecedented and his mere sighting was enough to send fans into frenzy. Everyone knew who Michael Jackson was. That is a huge compliment to the man who strangely went on a path of absurdity and caused damage not only to his health but also to his reputation. In a last bid to salvage that lost pride, he decided to participate in a series of 50 concerts in London which was paradoxically titled – “This Is It”. The movie is an amalgamation of selected rehearsal videos and on/off stage footage shot during the practice sessions for the concert.
I went into the movie with normal expectation- if at all the two words can co-exist :). The hall was completely full and people could be heard talking about MJ. As the first shot of MJ appeared, a few enthusiastic people shouted in unison ‘Aauuu’. That set the tone for the whole movie. Every few minutes we were made to witness this man’s genius,talent,dedication and humility. People were singing along to his famous tunes and there was a round of applause after every segment. I personally was amazed at his dancing prowess. I mean, he was just sensational even when undoubtedly, he was not in the best of shape. At 51, he could give any b-boy or hip hop dancer a run for their money. Even when there were disagreements, he voiced his opinions in a manner that was so mild and unlike his status. I guess, that is why he had such an amazing career. Incredible is the only word to describe his passion for this concert. Unlucky that we were not able to witness the concert in totality but lucky that we could still see glimpses of his genius.
What I liked about this movie is that it does not make any attempts to cash in on his untimely death. The movie stays true to what it states in the beginning and it does not get overtly-emotional or filmy. Shot in a documentary style and intercepted with interviews of people who worked with him for the tour, you can clearly see the awe in which people held him. He speaks in a child-like tone and fleetingly takes off his sunglasses during the movie. Yet, his music manages to connect and so does he. His singing is still effective and his ability to match with newer and fresher talent is visible at many places.On a lighter note,any person who can make crotch-grabbing such a rage, deserves a movie :).
Pros: The simple narrative, the awesome routines and Michael Jackson.
Cons: Very limited personalized interaction between the camera and MJ.
Special mentions: The routines for ‘Thriller’ and ‘The way you make me feel’.
Overall rating: 3.5/5