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This is It

This is it, really. The King of Pop's last moments alive.

As far as documentaries go, there is nothing really special about this particular film. And since I've started on that note, let's get the not-so-good stuff out of the way.

First of all, this documentary has no plot. Well of course, that is to be expected, as this is not a narrative. But still, sometimes you just get the feel that it's just footage pasted together. Then again, the filmmakers didn't make any promises on this. They just said at the onset that this will be a film chronicling the dress rehearsals for Michael Jackson's comeback tour.

Second...wait, there is no second not-so-good stuff. Everything else is good from here.

And the one thing that this documentary can offer that other documentaries can't: the multiple sides of Michael Jackson. Not just Michael Jackson the King of Pop. There is more to him than that.

First, there is MJ the performer. All the rigs, the effects, the visual cues---these are all Michael. You will see his total devotion to his craft. And although they form a big part of it, it's not the dancers that make the show a success. As director Kenny Ortega said, the dancers are extensions of Michael. They are extensions of the Man.

Second, there's MJ the singer. At fifty years old, he should be conserving his voice during dress rehearsals. Yet he couldn't help himself, and gave excellent vocal performances for some of the songs that had the dancers and crew cheering in the background.

Third, there's MJ the musician. For those of you who still doubt Michael Jackson's songwriting, you will hear him say it himself: "That's how I wrote it." So he did write his own songs. And he knows his songs inside-out. He knows how funky he wants the bass line for "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", and how lethargic he wants the piano for "The Way You Make Me Feel". And of course, the musicians must yield to the Man. He wrote those songs anyway.

Fourth, there's MJ the artist. Just seeing the tricks MJ had up his sleeve will make you really disappointed that the world would never, ever experience another Michael Jackson concert. The videos he shot for this would've gone to waste were it not for this film. He remade the "Smooth Criminal" opening number to have himself digitally inserted into old film noir footage, and he also had "Thriller" re-shot---in 3D. Oh, what I would've given to see his show.

And lastly, there's MJ the prophet. Michael Jackson has been doing his "Save the Earth" advocacy long before Al Gore even conceived of An Inconvenient Truth. And with his Church of Rock approach to life, from his "God bless you" and "Love one another" messages, it becomes clear that with his death, the world has lost a messiah named Michael.

Upon leaving the theater, you would either be 1) wiping a tear from your eye; 2) smiling fondly at memories of Michael; or 3) moonwalking across the cinema lobby. And I personally would light a candle for MJ, for it's like I lost...a brother.

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

*some info from michaeljackson.com
pic from nydailynews.com

This is It. USA. 2009.

Rating: Eight out of ten.


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