This is It is definitely a film for ardent Michael Jackson fans. As a person who could, in many ways, take or leave Michael Jackson I have to say that I still enjoyed watching This is It.
The cynical side of me wonders; if this DVD and CD were hastily cobbled together in order to recoup some of the money lost by Michael's sudden, and untimely, death. However, my nicer side feels that it may have been released as an epitaph to Michael and a final page in the chapter of the Prince of Pop's long musical career.
The film starts with the thoughts of a few of the auditioned, who were hoping to be selected to accompany Michael, on his 50 British tour dates scheduled for the Summer of 2009. We then see a brief glimpse of the audition process and the start of rehearsals.
The rehearsal process involves Michael performing many of his classic songs, sometimes with an updated twist. They Don't Care About Us was to have a computer enhanced backdrop. The core of ten dancers was to be increased graphically to represent an infinite amount of people. The effect was stunning. An updated version of Thriller looked set to be just as entertaining.
Throughout the film, we see glimpses of the musical genius that was Michael Jackson. He knows instantly and exactly, what he wants to achieve with each performance. He is a hard taskmaster and ensures that he gets just want he wants from the musicians, vocalists and dancers. However, he is not a harsh taskmaster, as his father was with him. Michael stresses that understanding and perfecting their performances is what rehearsals are all about.
Michael comes across as a relatively shy person who has a fairly warm personality and a sense of humour. Critics have said that Michael looked and sounded tired. Personally, I disagree.
Michael was at pains to point out that he was saving his voice during rehearsals and not singing to his full ability. I guess the footage of This is It could have been filmed over quite a few weeks. However, for a 50-year-old man Michael was as fleet footed as ever and this gave him a more youthful appearance.
Overall, I enjoyed watching the DVD of This is It. I must have done as I watched our rented copy twice. I did feel that I would not want to buy the DVD and watch it further though. However, as I have already said I am not an ardent fan of Michael Jackson's music. I do love tracks such as Black or White, Man in the Mirror, Thriller and Earth Story.
The DVD represents good value for fans as there are bonus features but I never watch those.
If the This is It shows had taken place, I have no doubt that they would have been memorable. Whether Michael could have stood the pace, though, I am not sure. I am certain though that he would have pushed himself to the limits in order to achieve a stunning show for the audience.
Toward the end of the film there is a message from Michael on the environment and mankind's damage done to the world. Michael plainly believes that THIS IS IT, as far as the environment goes. He states that he thinks we have but a few years left, in order to turn it around. If we do not, then the world as we know and love it could be finished. Sadly Michael will not be around to see is this poignant message had any ring of truth to it.
With Michael's death in June 2009, coming so unexpectedly, perhaps This is It is a great tribute when you consider the tragic circumstances at the time. Seeing Michael rehearse, however edited, at least lets the audience glimpse a little of the real Michael Jackson rather than just the stage persona of the Price of pop.
RIP Michael Jackson.