Typically on a Wednesday late night, most people on Atlanta's south side would be getting ready for work for Thursday morning or just finishing up family time and putting the children to bed. The last thing considered an option was thinking that these otherwise family units would add another activity to their otherwise mundane schedules, leave the kids with a babysitter, and head out to the most expensive movie in town - Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' in IMAX. And more than 50 adults did just that.
Arriving at the theater, approximately thirty minutes prior to the showing, other shows are being let out to Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' . The movie opened up on October 28th and even a week after the premiere, the atmosphere is still thick with Michael Jackson fans raving about seeing their icon on their respective screens. Mostly school aged children and their parents came to the earlier shows. It is tickling to watch teenagers exiting the building while showing their new variation of MJ's Moonwalk dance as their parents watch them gliding on the slick pavement with an approving "been there done that" nod. The excitement only grows with those of us who wait. Some even joke about having a little bit of a snooty attitude toward those who have watched 'This Is It' on the smaller screens because this next group was not only going to see Michael Jackson's 'This Is It', but we are going to see it in IMAX style. Let it also be said that there are a number of people in this next group who have already seen the movie but decided to splurge for the IMAX experience so they could get an even fuller appreciation of the man they grew up loving.
Too excited to wait for the movie to begin, groups of people start to arrive and unintentionally interrupt the movie that is currently showing in "our" theater. Yes, it is "our" theater at that moment because it was MJ's final performance and the people sitting in "our" seats are holding up "our" pleasure - so it seems. Finally, it is our time to enter and the anticipation grows. Lights down, previews over, and here comes Michael!
And boy oh boy, this is Michael Jackson up close and personal - not a body double. Unmistakably MJ's movements make you want to know what pain could he have possibly been feeling physically. Michael's movements include him getting on the ground and kicking his legs up in what we call a upside down bicycle movement in some workout courses. That movement is often met with groans in fitness classes yet here is Michael at 50 plus working it out like it was breathing air. Michael's voice is on key, strong and just as flawless as the day you first heard him.
The dancers on stage are decades younger than the top-billed and yet, Michael pops his movements and instructs with a type of effortless grace. At times, it looks like his dancers and singers are overwhelmed to have been given the chance to perform with such an icon. This latter statement is only reinforced after you hear the testimonies given by some of the performers, musicians, and concert organizers. (Remember this is a movie that was intended to be kept for Michael Jackson's personal library for him to remember his last show hence the title 'This Is It".)
In order to complete this report, movie-goers are asked what scenes stood out to them. Here are the top 5 responses from Atlanta's South side:
- Watching the costume designers develop crystals to be put on the seams of the Billie Jean outfit and explaining how the "bling" of the stones cause one to use sunglasses in order to embellish Michael's outfit.
- Listening to Michael correct with humor the tempo and pitch of one of the songs he wrote and always phrasing the correction with 'I say it with love'.
- Michael's interaction with the ladies on stage in his flirtatious and cute manner.
- Michael's choices in what he wanted in his performance and watching how his choices always made the scene so much better. In particular the scene of the destruction of the rain-forest and hearing Michael's instruction of how much more effective it would be for the music to stop once the bulldozer sweeps Michael underneath the stage. And the other correction was watching Michael take part in directing the 3D version of his Thriller video and directing the crypt-folks to look directly into the camera for a scarier effect.
- Anything vocal or dancing that shows Michael's movement and vocal range.
From 'Billie Jean' to 'Beat It' to 'Thriller' to Jackson 5's 'The Love You Save' to 'Man On The Mirror' to 'The Way You Make Me Feel'... the list goes on and on in songs you end up dancing to in your seat. Some of us even get up and dance in our respective aisles. Yes, tears well up with knowing Michael and his musical amazement is gone and will never be repeated.
From Victory Waters, Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' gets a definite watch-it-again rating!
For those of who have not seen Michael Jackson's last performance and think the hype is dying off, just read a few quotes that are said just as Michael Jackson 'This Is It" - IMAX ended :
"Excellent inside look at the genius MJ. It's really sad to see because in seeing that you really see that true musical genius lost and we don't have entertainment and music like that today"
"Go ahead Mike. I couldn't stop screaming back at the screen."
"He looks healthy to me. He doesn't look like a man who is about to kick off. It's a shame that doctor killed Michael Jackson."
"The King of Pop will be truly missed."
"I didn't know Michael was so flirtatious with the ladies. It was cute to see him in his element cracking jokes and loving his craft."
"We are left with Lil Wayne and licking lollipops? Where's the genius in that? Man, we are going to miss Michael"
Thanks to REGAL CINEMAS and Susana Capra (AEG Worldwide/CapraPhoto)!