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Weekend Movie Review: ‘This Is It’ Sizzles on Screen


By Jonathan Smalls, Movie Critic

We can say what we want about Michael Jackson: we can criticize his personal life, believe the accusations, dismiss his as some sort of weirdo, and marvel at when he filed for bankrupty, but there is one thing, which no one will ever be able to do to him: no one can deny his talent. With a musical career spanning nearly fifty years, he has achieved a level of fame greater than any performer before, or since.

This Is It was supposed to be a farewell tour for a storied musician, the piece de resistance on a renowned legacy, which has touched the lives of the world. Unfortunately Michael died while rehearsing, and developing his tour, but rather than letting such a talent disappear like a candle in a dark room, director Kenny Ortega was able to share a view of the behind the scenes development in film. We are glad that he did.

Despite his fame, Michael was still only one man. He was never able to control his rise to fame, and subsequent fall from grace. He never determined how the media portrayed him, or what the public believed. Many of us never even heard him speak. His outlet to the world was his music, and This Is It offers a glimpse into the thought, and sentiment behind his performances.

The film starts by following Michael through rehearsals. He seems frail, his voice sounds thin. Ortega lets the film crescendo from this image of Michael to the reality of the man: a fun, powerful visionary with an intense desire to entertain the world like no one else. Although the film consists primarily of Jackson rehearsing his most popular songs, there is a story in it.


Michael has always been theatrical. From the beginning many of his songs incorporated themes, and stories, so stringing them together into a feature length film is no stretch of the imagination. This Is It is certainly not a lazy repeat of his albums. Michael used the live performance as an opportunity to reimagine many elements of his music to really make it bigger, better, and more poignant. “Human Nature” is haunting, “Smooth Criminal” is an expansive tale of the dirty city, and the “Way You Make Me Feel” literally simmers just the way he wants it to.


Michael is supported by the best of the best in their fields: crew, dancers, musicians, vocalists, designers. Each gets a brief moment to demonstrate what they contributed to the rehearsals, and the production is amazing. The dancers are animated, and precise. The musicians are true to the sound, and experience. Everyone does their part to create a moment truly worthy of the last days of the king of pop.

Several generations of music lovers grew up with Michael Jackson, moon walking, crotch grabbing, and trying to hit that high falsetto. Generations more will know his legacy. The film builds on our fond memories of his music all of the way back to the Jackson 5, and we as the audience see his vision, embrace his message, and feel his energy. Future generations have one advantage over us though. While Michael was alive we entertained the notion of his return to greatness, another chance to experience that excitement of hearing his latest release. After his death, at the end of the movie we painfully realized that there is no more. This is it.

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Michael Jackson Dies


 Michael Jackson, the world´s music phenom, is dead.

He was 50.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that Jackson died today after he was rushed rushed to UCLA Medical Center earlier today.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told the L.A. Times that Jackson was not breathing when paramedics arrived at his home and CPR was performed.

TMZ.com was the first to repor that Jackson suffered cardiac arrest.

Michael Jackson´s ¨Don´t Stop¨

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