May 14, 2010

#079: This Is It (5/10)

I would be lying if I claimed to be a huge fan of Michael Jackson. I was too young to experience his domination of the 80's as it happened. At that time I was too naive to understand his impact, and too ignorant to appreciate his genius. Unfortunately, by the time I became aware of MJ, he had become infamous for his eccentricities and allegations of pedophilia. As I grew older I started to listen to his hits, and realize his talent. However, those years had passed him, and his newer stuff was of little interest to me. I felt like I was always waiting for him. I knew he would have a resurgence; that he would create his unique style of art that would once again captivate the world. I just wasn't sure when it was going to happen. I was still waiting when I heard of his death. I feel like he still had something to contribute, and now we would never get to see it. I will always feel that way; who knows if it would have ever come to be.
As soon as I heard about This Is It, I knew I wanted to see it. I wanted to spend a little bit more time watching Michael do what he does best.  For the past 10 years we had only seen him in awkward interviews, or in shots from the paparazzi. It would be nice to see him singing and dancing.  I knew the film would contain a lot of rehearsal footage, but I expected there to be an underlying story.  I didn't know whether it would be heavy handed or tear jerking, but I expected there to be some sort of narrative there.

There is absolutely no plot to this movie.  I hesitate to even call it a movie. It is actually just footage that has been edited together in a logical manner.  There is very little dialog.  There is very little anything besides video of MJ and his dancers rehearsing for the show.  On one hand I like that they didn't try to make some gushy goodbye film.  On the other hand, I really wanted it to give me a little bit more to latch on to.  I was entertained by the performances, and it was really nice to see MJ up on the stage.  However, it felt rushed and unfinished.  I have a suspicion that they sifted through the hours of recordings and edited it down to movie length as fast as possible in order to get it out there while thoughts of MJ were still fresh in the world's minds.  This Is It works on certain levels, but it fails at really being a film.

For me, watching the performance of Smooth Criminal was reason enough to sit through the entire 2 hours.  It is one of my favorite MJ songs, and it was great to watch him perform it.  For some reason I wasn't expecting to hear that song, and I definitely wasn't expecting to be slightly moved by it.  Not everyone will enjoy watching This Is It.  In fact, I am pretty sure some will absolutely hate it.  I was just glad I got to watch Michael perform for two hours.

Filed Under: , ,