In advertising the movie “This Is It,” the Sony Style site (http://www.sonystyle.com/thisisit) promises that “[a]udiences will be given a privileged and private look at Jackson as he has never been seen before.” Rarely does a movie live up to its hype; this one does. “This Is It” is a movie that was never intended to be a movie. As a result, viewers are given a rare inside look into the man who was Michael Jackson (http://www.examiner.com/category-Michael_Jackson.html). Eccentricities, rumors, and bad press aside, Michael Jackson had a beautiful soul. He loved animals, people, and most strongly, the planet. He comes across in this movie as a completely different person than the one portrayed by much of the press, making his death even more of a tragedy. But portraying Michael as a real person is only part of the beauty of this movie.
Older, looking thin and somewhat frail, Michael had lost none of his verve at the time of his death. His dance moves were impeccable, exactly the same as in his youth. He appears to glide across the stage, his feet seemingly making no contact with the floor. The consummate professional, Michael reserved much of his real voice in practice sessions. As such, viewers won’t hear much of his melodic falsetto, but the trade off is worth it. As revealed in the film, Michael was far more than a singer. He was a perfectionist who was involved in every aspect of his career, from the music to helping to choose the dancers. He also hand-picked the musicians involved in his concert project, including a young Australian born, accomplished guitarist, 24-year-old Orianthi Panagaris (http://www.myspace.com/orianthi). Following Michael’s death, Orianthi tweeted that “a huge part of music died today, such an incredible artist and person that has inspired so many and brought joy to so many people’s lives." And inspire he did. Much of Michael Jackson’s influence is seen in current artists like Usher (http://www.myspace.com/usher), Chris Brown (http://www.myspace.com/chrisbrown), and even Beyonce (http://www.myspace.com/beyonce). Michael’s dance moves are so evident in everything these and other young artists do, indicating the extent of his influence on today’s music. Michael, however, never seemed as concerned about his influence on anyone more than his fans.
The “This Is It” concert series was devised as a gift to Michael’s fans, and the movie carries out Michael’s wishes, albeit in the form of clips. He had planned to go all out with that gift. In addition to the spectacular dance sequences and outstanding musicians and dancers involved in the project, Michael shot various mini-movie sequences that would come to life on the stage through dance and performance. He was inserted into an old Humphrey Bogart movie to introduce “Smooth Criminal.” The special effects involved in this are incredible, including a sequence of Michael jumping through a window as Humphrey Bogart unloads a machine gun, the bullets gliding behind him as in a dream sequence. “Thriller” was being revived through movie, with zombies clawing out of the grave to join Michael on stage in the now-famous dance sequence associated with the original video. Expense was apparently not being spared on this gift, but likely the most telling of the sequences occur with “Earth Song,” a song that encourages us to save the planet before it’s too late. More than any other sequence in “This Is It,” this blurb shows the real heart of Michael Jackson and his love of life and those with whom he shared it, both known and unknown to him. Again, the man had a beautiful soul.
Regardless of whether people choose to believe the rumors and negative press surrounding Michael Jackson, he was much more than anyone who doesn’t really know him can even begin to imagine. That feeling is best revealed by the fact that people refused to leave the theater at the movie’s conclusion. Moviegoers seemed mesmerized by the fact that they would never see this talented, gifted man again; no one wanted to miss a single second. To find more of the true man, put all preconceived notions aside and see “This Is It” while it is still in theaters. Enlightenment might just occur. If nothing else, see a true genius at work and the impact that work has had on so many. To learn more about the movie, visit http://www.michaeljackson.com/us. The Oscar buzz has already begun; if nominated and/or bestowed, that Oscar will be well deserved. Michael Jackson was an once-in-a-lifetime gift to the world. Celebrate that gift, as presented in “This Is It.”