“The greatest concert that never was”

It is hard to watch and talk about the new documentary, THIS IS IT, which chronicles the last few months of Michael Jacksons life without feeling some tinge of sadness and a little bit of media sensationalism. Granted the film was created with the full support of Jackson’s estate but you have to wonder if it is too soon. That said, Jackson was always a fan of media attention and probably would be proud to have this shown as a last look at his talent and genius. The film is directed by Ken Ortega who was both Jackson’s creative partner and director of the stage show. That connection helps Ortega to use over 120 hours of behind the scenes footage to bring a nice homage to the legend of Jackson and the concert that never was to be.

Covering the preparation, rehearsals and musical numbers the footage includes events from March through June of this year. Nothing is left out of this musical masterpiece. They could have easily given us small glimpses of the song numbers and filled the rest with long winded interviews full of manipulative emotion. Instead they let the footage speak for the man. You see Michael in every aspect of concert creation. From picking the dancers to conducting the band rehearsals to producing all of the special effects and prerecorded elements that was to be the backdrop of the show. Jackson had a hand in it all. This is not the creepy Jackson that has plagued the news clips over the years. This is the creative Jackson that looms larger than life and brims with confidence and leadership. There is no doubt who is in charge, but he does it with such humility, patience and compassion that you get the feeling that he wanted nothing more than to love and be loved even in the pursuit of perfection. He was a star willing to share the stage and the glory.

Fans of Jackson’s dancing get a front row seat to every spin, pop, and slide. I watched in awe as this 50 year old man moved with the agility and sharpness of someone half his age. I had forgotten how talented this cat was when it came to visually captivating an audience. He never misses a beat. He can be involved in the most intricate dance move and still be able to concentrate on solid vocals and hearing every note the band is playing. Critiquing and polishing every element as he goes. Few performers have the talent and the ability to do one of those things much less all three to the level of MJ. I could always appreciate the man’s gift to the music world but after seeing this candid, unscripted piece that respect has gone to new heights.

THIS IS IT is rated PG for some suggestive choreography and scary images. Nothing in this film is objectionable. I easily give it 5 out of 5 down beats. Over the last several years Jackson’s personal life and off stage antics have over shadowed the brilliant artist that Michael was on stage. There needed to be something else. Something that showed the indisputable fact that he truly was the king of pop. Something that gave the world one last look at the true heartbeat of the performer. Something that would allow fans to glimpse the greatest concert that would never be. This is it. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (10/28/09)

(5 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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