‘This Is It’ strictly meant for Michael Jackson’s fans (Film Review — Rating: ***)

By Joginder Tuteja, IANS
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Film: “This Is It”; Cast: Michael Jackson; Director: Kenny Ortega; Rating: ***

This is it. The moment has arrived. For weeks there has been widespread speculation around the actual content of the musical documentary on Michael Jackson.

While director Kenny Ortega had announced that the film would give a sneak peek of Jackson’s rehearsals for his concert series by the same name (”This Is It”), naysayers wondered if they would indeed get to see what was promised.

Conspiracy theories about a body double being used to make this film were all around as also that the movie “This Is It” was yet another means to cash in on the popularity of the legend who died June 25.

But this is not the case. The two-hour film features Jackson the way he was and there is no duplicate filling in for him. Yes, the horror of his failing health is pretty much visible in his weak body structure. However, what is certainly not missing is the man’s energy, passion, determination and zeal to give it all to his fans.

“Love you all” and “God bless you” are mouthed frequently by the pop star who got his rehearsals captured on camera for his personal library. Now when the man is no more, these videos have been cut and edited to give audiences something to cheer about.

Seeing a parallel global release, the film captures Jackson in perhaps not his full glory since the spunk created in front of live audiences is always different from on-stage rehearsals.

However, what truly shocks is the fact that the man was pretty much alive, kicking and raring to go for his comeback concert. After seeing his moves, it is hard to believe that his health had deteriorated to such an extent that he met with a sudden death soon after.

“This Is It” is surely a treat for Jackson fans. For those who aren’t, the film doesn’t quite give any insight into the man’s life since it is assumed that “This Is It” is mainly for those who were closely following his music and were prepared for the concert. So, if anyone is looking for a documentary on his life per se, then this really isn’t it!

However, for those who were looking forward to the concert, this is not really a bad bargain. After all there are hit numbers like “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and many more that find a place in it. This becomes all the more interesting since Jackson comes up with new moves for these songs while making them further contemporary and presenting them to today’s audiences.

The only thing that one misses as the film concludes is some more footage around comments from the people associated with the show. There are a few at the beginning but otherwise the film begins and ends like a concert video.

That was the intent of the feature for sure but it would have helped had audiences been given to know a little more about Michael Jackson - the man and not just Michael Jackson - the performer.

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