Movie Review: This Is It (2009)

No doubt about it, when I saw the announcement that Columbia and Sony Pictures were going to release a movie based on out-takes and rehearsals of Michael Jackson’s much anticipated London tour, I figured it was nothing more than a money grab to profit on the singer’s untimely death. Since seeing it, I am positive it was indeed a savvy profiteer’s wet dream. I am also more convinced than ever that Michael Jackson was a brilliant performer and This Is It manages to capture his imagination, his attention to detail and his overwhelming desire to please.

Too bad this documentary had to be made though. I couldn’t help but feel sad over the circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson’s death. It was something I couldn’t shake, even though This Is It tries to be a celebration of his life and work.

Anyways, if you’re an average guy (or gal) and didn’t know what goes into a monstrous stage production, prepare to be bewildered. It is a complex creature with hundreds of tendrils and if one is out of synch then they may as well all be screwed up. Each of these segments, time and time again, are dissected and analyzed for mistakes. Each is honed to perfection — it would be a crime for the audience to see something subpar. Michael himself oversees the entire production.

This is not the frail man we were led to believe he became needing his frightening drug mixtures to stay alive. Not by a long shot. Instead we’re given glimpses of him explaining the feeling behind the beats to one of the musicians. Instead we see him going through full dance routines with his ensemble dancers, working out any timing mistakes or correcting any bad form that catches his eyes. All the while he does it with an even hand, like a mother to her child — never once raising his voice or losing his patience.

Director, Kenny Ortega deserves a lot of credit too. The setups for This Is It are magnificent. In one, a cemetery is recreated on stage with a mass of zombies rising from their graves to the sound of Thriller. Pyrotechnics are everywhere and in everything. Michael is infused into celluloid for Smooth Criminal while he and dancers onstage follow along. The completed light show would have been a sight to see.

Hell, the entire production would have been a sight to see — even if just to prove to the world Michael still had what it takes.

Of course, knowing that This Is It is comprised of a month or so of rehearsals (Michael can be seen wearing many different outfits for a single song), there is a damn good chance anything that put Michael into a bad light was left on the cutting room floor. Would I have liked to see a more “real” person than the one who says, “I love you” and “Do it for the music” to everyone involved with the show ad nauseam, perhaps. That, however, doesn’t take away from this production. Whether you’re a fan or not of Michael Jackson’s, This Is It belongs in your DVD collection. Make some space for it now.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: This Is It (2009)' have 6 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 16, 2009 @ 6:22 am Elmer Carlson

    Michael Jackson is a legend… Most popular music artists are inspired by him. We can strongly see it with their singing style, especially their dance moves.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 17, 2009 @ 9:13 am Rose Taylor

    I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson.I have watched this movie.This movie is interesting and entertaining for me.I i did not see Jackson as being physically ill or unfit.Thanks..

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 14, 2010 @ 10:13 pm Joshua Williams

    I love Michael Jackson. He’s absolutely the greatest artist of all times. The way he sings and moves makes the difference.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 17, 2010 @ 6:07 am health002

    Michael Jackson is a legend… Most popular music artists are inspired by him. We can strongly see it with their singing style, especially their dance moves.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 24, 2010 @ 4:43 am essay

    I watched this This Is It movie and I was sad that M.J. didn’t make this concert.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 9, 2010 @ 11:40 pm CPR

    Very sad to see Mike go. I had just seen ” The Jacksons an American Dream” for the first time about a week before his death. He was a very driven person..

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