Friday, November 13, 2009

"Michael Jackson's This Is It" (Documentary) (2009) - Movie Review

On the wake of MTV sneaking its way in and before there was little knowledge of the rock in the far world of other side, in the tiny part of Madurai there were couple of crazy kids wondering how the hell this man could twist his legs and make the coolest dance moves ever witnessed. And there was MJ in the small video snippets and the smuggled concert footage which were treated like a great find. Soon the time passed and as the rock and roll grew and of course I grew up to explore various kinds of music, MJ took a break from the listening spree of mine. But now and then an occasional “Beat it” or moving “Earth Song” never failed to remind me of the artist’s masterpieces. Here in “Michael Jackson’s This Is It”, we get one final ride not of the perfected stage performance but the work through it and his rehearsals are immaculate as it would be.

Director Kenny Ortega designed and operated along with the man for the final series of shows. Dancers were auditioned, short films to become the back grounds were shot, pyrotechnics of mind blowing presentations were fired up and the greatest hits were sung and performed. Michael Jackson asked to shoot the rehearsals to improve himself. In an instance for the start of “Human Nature”, he practices with the keyboard artist and I could not find the difference in the simmering he is strenuous about but it makes a difference when they perform. The slightest of sounds and the miniscule adjustments he suggests in a passive anger and frustration adds a strange layer to this documentary.

The songs and choreography are always at top of the performance of MJ’s concerts. Many have come across and twisted their legs in ten different direction with the finesse and class but the steps Jackson did seem to have a pristine quality of originality and it attains that stature when he does those. The uniqueness of the voice and music as much goes to his dance moves which does not need a matching performance. Some marks and milestones needs to remain untouched.

The documentary is carefully put together. Opening with an interview of the selected dancers and each of them with the known emotional outburst say their pleasure of being with the man they grew up watching and being inspired. Their dreams shattered with being so close and not being completed adds to the tragedy of MJ, hailed for his music and marred by controversies, allegations and what nots.

Michael never really had any chance to see the common things most of us go through growing up. Been always in the lime light and unexposed to the life of being not noticeable is a privilege most of us do not realize. He has performed million different times with the spotless perfection and yet he practices like a mad man. Mentioning to the music artists, dancers and Ortega on what he wants and how he wants it. The aspiration to get it that close to sync it with the mind’s picture of the song and show, he goes repeatedly on the notes.

He complaints on the earpiece which he is getting used to but in the most gentle fashion. He is too soft but there is an aggression lying beneath. Ortega is careful when he deals with him as if there is an outburst he do not want to see from him. It is this tension which adds an eerie presence in between the songs. The documentary which has been accused for making money of course is for that but there is a sincerity for the audience it got produced for. The songs picked from the best and interweaves three different times it was shot. “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” as it mentions is for fans and it is the closest we could come for the real show he was planning before his unfortunate demise. If you are a fan growing up as I did, this would bring back those memories and if you are not, it is never too late.

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