Wednesday morning, October 28, 2009, at 12:01 am, millions of people around the world were either reminded of, or introduced to, greatness at its highest level with the release of This is It, a riveting documentary chronicling the last days in the extraordinary life of the late music and pop-culture icon, Michael Jackson. This two-hour masterpiece gives long-time fans a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into the creative genius that powered the most successful entertainment career of all time, and introduces an entirely new generation of young people to the Michael Jackson that millions upon millions of people from all generations and all corners of the world fell in love with decades ago, either as children or young adults. The passionate, compassionate, humble, friendly Jackson portrayed in this film is a far cry from the “Wacko Jacko” that the visual and print media made him out to be for years.
World-renowned producer and choreographer, Kenny Ortega, compiled and condensed over one hundred hours of footage from the intense preparation for what was intended to be Jackson’s last worldwide tour, This is It. The film treats viewers to an in-depth look at the artist’s interactions with his vast cadre of show producers, directors, choreographers, musicians, singers, and dancers, and shows both his sensitivity and commitment to his craft and to his fans to put on the absolute best show he possibly could. Those who flock the theaters that night were absolutely amazed and inspired by what they saw and left feeling privileged to have seen the inner workings of a true legend crafting a truly legendary work of art. It was hard not to leave the theater hoping and praying to have both the ability and opportunity to one day have even a fraction of the impact and touch as many lives as Michael Jackson did in his fifty years of life.
When we think about it, we have no choice but to admit that it is by the grace of God that we were blessed to have even seen such a production because one, it did not have to be released, and two, more importantly, there could have been no footage at all from which to produce this masterpiece in the first place. What was it, or Who was it, that gave Michael the foresight to bring cameras into his rehearsals? The beginning of the movie states that the footage was shot simply for his personal collection, but we never know what he could have done with it had he lived to see the other side of the This Is It tour. It could have indeed turned into the documentary we saw, included in the DVD collection that surely would have been produced from the tour, or, as the movie stated, Michael really could have kept it to himself. Whatever the complete reason was for the King of Pop’s allowing the cameras to roll, the point of the matter is that he did, and because of that decision, the world has been tremendously blessed. Just think, where would we who are fans be without the gift of This Is It? Without this film, many of us would struggle to recall our last great living memory of arguably the greatest artist of all time. The world benefits from Michael Jackson’s foresight in allowing his preparations to be recorded.
We, taking nothing for granted, should all have the same foresight. We all don’t have the luxury of having camera crews follow our every move, but we can at least take pictures every once in awhile to capture our living, breathing history. Some of us don't do the best job of taking pictures of all the important events of our lives, but This Is It reminds us that we indeed need to. Since none of us is the all-knowing, all-powerful God, Who knows each of our exact dates of departure from this earth, we therefore ought to treat each day God gives us as the wonderful gift it is; we do so by tangibly capturing our lives. We should all have a desire, regardless of age, to leave a legacy that our families and our God can be proud of. Do you want your legacy just to be told as a vague recollection, or do you want it to be shown, heard, and felt as a vivid memory? We can make great strides toward accomplishing the latter by making use of the technology at our disposal to make a more comprehensive recording of our lives by which those who love me can be blessed. At any moment, God can call your number and say, “This is it,” so while you still have time, do your best to capture something significant from every day, like it’s your very last.
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