"This is it"
It was 45 years ago that a young boy from Indiana first walked into the spotlight alongside his four brothers, destined to become one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Known around the globe as the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson electrified the music and dance world creating songs and signature moves that will forever define his legacy. Sadly this past June, the man behind the greatest selling album of all time (Thriller) died at his Los Angeles home while in the midst of preparing for an epic farewell tour in London. While millions of fans may have lost the opportunity to see the pop icon one last time in concert, his hard work and preparation is preserved in the thousands of hours of behind the scenes footage shot for Jackson's own personal use. To properly retell Jackson’s last months, Kenny Ortega, (High School Musical) the creative director behind Jackson’s concert agreed to take on the daunting task of producing a special tribute film to give Jackson fans one last chance to see the pop singer in his element.
“This is it” can best be described as a documentary style film which mixes lives performances with backstage banter. The movie gives viewers the chance to see a very different side of the “King of Pop.” It allows an opportunity to witness the creative development, chemistry and struggle, all while experiencing Jackson’s true passion for the craft for which he will forever be known. Director Kenny Ortega does a brilliant job at combining both the serious work and the humorous moments that unfold throughout the day-to-day rehearsals. Best of all, the film features nearly a dozen performances cut from multiple days, which show the progression by Jackson and the entire crew on and off stage. Oretga also makes a great call by choosing not to show any video from the day cast and crew first learned of Michael’s death, instead allowing fans to remember Jackson for his talents and contributions to the world of entertainment.
As a typical Michael Jackson fan, I must say for the limited footage, “This is it” is a fitting tribute to the “King of Pop.” The film’s mix of performance, backstage interviews and unfiltered look at Jackson, offers fans the chance to forget about the tabloid headlines which plagued Michael’s personal life and instead focus on the performer we all knew him to be. The film will forever be a lasting tribute to the “Man in the Mirror” and I have no doubt will go down as one of the most memorable documentaries ever made.
In its first four-day release (October 29th – November 1st) “This is it” grossed $31.7 million worldwide at the box office.
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