This movie has received so much hype, that I wasn't sure what to expect. An over-produced documentary teetering on fiction, or pointless clips that didn't bring me into the world I wanted to see and experience. This Is It was neither. It was exactly what it needed to be and should be.
Since Michael Jackson's untimely death, there has been a lot of negative press or simply dirty press on his estate, debts, and addictions to various medications. This film erases all of those thoughts. You're introduced to the rarities that only backup dancers, musicians, and singers are given the privilege to see while rehearsing for a grand production such as this. Through over 80 hours of footage, Kenny Ortega brought the story together by piecing single song rehearsals from different days and times and various clips of Michael with a vocal coach or the band.
Throughout the film, interviews with the dancers, musicians and crew are shown. Every one of them gushes about Michael’s talent, and how privileged they feel getting to work with him. This really brought the documentary and raw footage aspect to the audience.
The soundtrack includes "Billy Jean," "The Way You Make Me Feel, "Thriller," Smooth Criminal," and "Man in the Mirror." Each song tells a story through visual backgrounds, the dancers, the costumes, and Michael's personality and movements. It is obvious how much dedication he as for his work. He is hands-on through every step including the recording of background video, the dancer auditions, and sound checks.
Without any music sheets or lyrics, Michael glides through every track effortlessly as if he wrote them a year ago. He corrects the musicians for very slight note changes. His ear and mind were impeccable. His talent was natural and magical.
To see this 50 year-old man dancing as he did onstage, in front of 10-15 dancers that were half his age and more in tune with the times was unbelievable. He danced through every run of the songs, and popped and moon walked as if they were regular movements made daily.
My favorite "performance" was "The Way You Make Me Feel." MJ re-invented the beginning as a jazz song, almost bringing in a Broadway mood to the backdrop and dancers. The consistent beat leading him into the smoother first verse felt right. It proved that he doesn't rest on what he's done, but that he's always trying to push it higher and better.
The amount of money spent on this production has to be astronomical, and will hopefully be paid in full by the ticket sales. Michael is owed that much. This was what he had to offer to the world, this was his heart and soul. It is apparent in the way he treats the crew, and each time he makes them start over to get the track just right.
Everyone has their opinion on how talented Michael Jackson was, and how much credit he deserves. This Is It proved those for me. He is the King of Pop.