Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Thumb Sideways: MIchael Jackson: This Is It

Starring: Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson
Co-Starring: Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson

First off, I'm not a HUGE Michael Jackson fan. I really like most of his faster tempo pop songs but don't care for the longer, slower ballads. Unfortunately for me, it seemed that most of This Is It was focused around these slower songs.

The movie is a documentary featuring the low-production-value rehearsal footage for MJ's "This Is It" shows in London. Filmed at the Staples Center in L.A., it chronicles the details required to put on a huge production. What we see is monotonous, boring, and uninspiring. We never get the payoff of the final versions of the production numbers. No final dress rehearsals with costumes, pyrotechnics, or glitz and glamour. The songs are never sung from start to finish.

I think they are promoting this movie a bit like Truth or Dare but it isn't like that at all. In that we see Madonna behind the scenes but we also get some character development of the dancers and then see the live performance. Imagine going to see A Chrous Line without the final One number.

What I Liked
• You get to see how much work and practice goes into these huge productions and why ticket prices are so high.
• MJ practices everything and I was amazed that all of the dance steps are developed and practiced. They are not freestyle.
• It was good to see him again.

What I Didn't Like
• Most of the featured songs are ballads that they practice over and over. And over.
• He's still wearing the tape on his fingers.
• No final, full production songs for the payoff.
• There was no moonwalk, even during the Billie Jean rehearsals.

What I Learned
• As his production crew said after his death, you can see that he is very skinny but isn't in danger of physical exhaustion. I'm more convinced that his death was an accidental overdose of a combination of sleep aides.

This movie gets my thumb sideways. You'll love it if you're a hard core Michael Jackson fan who can't get enough of listening to his CDs from start to finish. I thought it was boring.

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