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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Documentary/Musical
Director: Kenny Ortega
Cast: Michael Jackson
RunTime: 1 hr 52 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.thisisit-movie.com.sg/

Opening Day: 29 October 2009


"Michael Jackson's This Is It" will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London's O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is produced with the full support of the Estate of Michael Jackson and drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a privileged and private look at Jackson as he has never been seen before. In raw and candid detail, "Michael Jackson's This Is It" captures the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius and great artist at work as he creates and perfects his final show. Kenny Ortega, who was both Michael Jackson's creative partner and the director of the stage show is also directing the film, which is being produced by Randy Phillips, Kenny Ortega and Paul Gongaware.

Movie Review:

Michael Jackson’s This Is It finally hits the cinemas for a very limited two week release. Initially meant to be a straight-to-DVD feature, it has now been transferred to the big screen instead, especially since the performer’s passing in July 2009. At 50, the King of Pop would have had his comeback concert, his “final curtain call” as he had said, at the O2 Arena in London and boy, what a show it would have been.

This reviewer is not able to review This Is It in the vein of a normal theatrical release as it is not a documentary nor is it an actual movie. The movie is probably the closest thing to the actual concert that anyone would ever get to see. 95% percent of footage in the movie is from rehearsals for the concert which director, Kenny Ortega has decided to piece together to make the movie more of a tribute than an actual documentary. There are several outtakes by the dancers and musicians on the concert team but it is as far as it goes.

That said, it was quite an experience watching Michael Jackson at work rehearsing with his team and how he reacted towards them, something which the world rarely gets to see. It is no denying that he was a consummate professional when he discussed with his musical director how he should let a part of a song simmer and bathe in the sunlight. It is also obvious that Michael Jackson respected the people he worked with and was very happy to dish out several “God Bless Yous”. And at this juncture, this reviewer must admit that he has never been a major fan of the late showstopper but was left impressed by the showmanship exhibited.

Sure, there may have been reports that the late King of Pop was in a very frail state leading up to his death but who can blame the filmmakers for wanting to preserve the memory of the performer whom they all had grown to know and love? If anyone going into This Is It is expecting this to be a tell-all about the trials and tribulations in Michael Jackson’s life then this is not the experience you are looking for.

This Is It is a fitting tribute to the one performer who had the world at his feet. This reviewer may not have had the chance to watch Michael Jackson had he performed this concert live in London but based on what this movie has to offer alone, he would have picked up the DVD and would have been left mesmerized by the whole show.

That said, leave your assumptions and perceptions at the door and just enjoy this near two-hour tribute to the King of Pop, whose music will continue to resonate for many years to come.

Movie Rating:

(This Is It is a must watch for MJ’s fans and neutrals for the sheer musical experience that could have been)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


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