Monday, November 23, 2009

This Was It

The Film: This Is It!

The Contributors: Michael Jackson et al.

The Dealio: My son, Nick, said it best when we were discussing this movie/concert the other day: Michael has been off our radars for quite some time. But, I was in the mood for something a little...gentler than some of the films we've been seeing lately, so I went by myself. Well, welcome back, MJ...and, sadly, good-bye. Was suddenly reminded of what a remarkable, creative hyphenate MJ was. Did I notice that, when he was wearing the orange pants with the 'Tin Man' jacket his voice was not quite as strong as it had once been? Sure. Did I observe that, overwhelmingly, everyone on set kowtowed to him? Decidedly. Did I feel he was quite a world class micro-manager? Most assuredly. Did he spin out a quality project? Oh, yeah.
Michael had a wonderous, gigantic talent, and, for that alone, I respect this chance to glance behind the scenes, on what would have been- had even one of the concerts been played before his death- the gold standard by which all others would be judged for years to come. Even the raw-edged nature of what was simply a series of rehearsals, was absolutely fascinating. The young talents he attracted were relentless in their efforts to dig deeper and push harder than even they thought they could- and MJ egged them on in this pursuit of excellence. Although the film was not without (at times, gaping) holes, this was a joyous celebration of talent, history and innovation at the hands of a truly inspired individual. I liked so much the fact that people in the audience were totally plugged into the electric atmosphere, singing along, clapping, even cheering at a few points. It is just too bad that this tour never saw like of...well, night and stadium/arena/performance hall.

The Grading Session: 3.86 stars out of 5. Gotta ding him for the sycophantic tenor of the support staff and director.

Lessons Learned: It is better to burn out than fade away...if you are Michael Jackson. Oh, and don't be surprised if you see a huge, luxe $1000 set of this concert-prep vid being released in time for a major holiday in the next 12 months.

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