When musical legends leave this world, you’d expect that they would leave behind them a legacy of previous audio and recordings, memorabilia, and so on. What’s more unusual, is for a true king of pop to depart this world, leaving behind him a show that he never got to perform. But then, Michael Jackson always liked to do things a bit differently, so after his death, his estate, and the team behind his ‘This Is It’ concerts, decided to unleash this movie on the world.
What we have in ‘This Is It’ is a rare piece of music history, that gives us an unrivalled insight into ‘what might have been’. This movie shows Michael from when he announces the tour in London, to his rehearsals in L.A, following him, his band, dancers, and stage crew, as they prepare to put on this spectacle of a show. For a show is what this is, not just a pop concert, but a mix of Hollywood magic, Broadway staging, and live Rock and Roll show.
We get to see the perfectionist working out his vocal arrangements, and kicking his dancers into shape, rehearsing full length versions of some of his biggest hits, and filming visual content that would be seamlessly integrated into the show. There were the aerial acrobats practising on huge chandeliers, a giant spider, and sweeping fire bursts. Not to mention the costumes that the designer worked with scientists to create. This film gives the impression of a stunning spectacle, full of effect, great music, and emotion. It was fascinating to see MJ, and director Kenny Ortega gather together the best in the business and take step by creative step towards ‘This Is It’.
Highlights of the main film include the live version of Jackson 5 hit ‘Want You Back’, party song ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’, very soulful duet ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’. I also enjoyed watching the great dancers auditioning for ‘This Is It’, and final cut trying out the elevators. Being ‘toasted’ as they call it in the business looks so much fun!! As for the band: tight, funky, and complete with a female guitarist rocking it out; what could be better?!
Also worth looking out for is Michael acting the gangster, and seemingly jumping out of the screen into ‘Smooth Criminal’. Then of course there was my personal favourite, the brilliant video/dance explosion that was ‘Thriller’. It’s always been a favourite song of mine, and the end result would have been stunning, oh and in 3D as well! Michael isn’t just about entertainment though. He has a message to give, and he gave this through the other main visual in the show, played out in a moving fashion during ‘Earth Song’.
‘This Is It’ will entertain and engage Michael Jackson fans, and music fans of all ages. It reminds us of his song writing skills and humanity, and after years of his surreal personal life being in the spotlight, and then his passing, I think this is the side of the King of Pop we all need to see.
In amongst the ‘making of’ style extras, the team behind the show vocalise about how Michael wanted to make a comeback, and wanted to give people something to think about. Even though we never got to see the show live, I think this film has achieved both of these things. I may have rambled on for a bit over a really enjoyable DVD, but as Michael Jackson himself says on film, the ‘show speaks for itself’.
‘This Is It’ is available now from Zavvi.com. Click on the image below for details.