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Michael Jackson's This Is It movie poster

Michael Jackson's This Is It: Movie Review

Genre: Documentary
Rated: PG
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Michael Jackson
Released by: Columbia Pictures

In Short: Fans of the late pop star Michael Jackson will not be disappointed by this documentary showcasing the rehearsals for his ill-fated comeback tour.
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The King of Pop's Last Hurrah

It is unfortunate that Michael Jackson's This Is It has turned out to be the last word on the King of Pop. Shot by director Kenny Ortega with the intention of being a documentary companion piece to Jackson's comeback concerts scheduled to happen in London in the summer of 2009, with Jackson's untimely death in June, this film is now his obituary.

Those who are not emotionally wrapped up in the singer's life and death may find that it meanders on a bit too long and that Jackson's slightly freakish look with his constantly worn sunglasses and plastic-surgery altered face is pretty creepy. But those who are hardcore fans of the troubled pop icon will find much to love.

Michael Jackson in This Is It Michael Jackson in This Is It

Jackson, looking scary-skinny throughout, certainly proves that at age 50 he still could sing and dance with the best of them. Belying reports of his frailty, which surfaced after his death, Jackson moonwalks, crotch-grabs, and leads a core of much-younger dancers through their paces with nary a misstep.

And while he repeatedly comments that he has to "save my voice," Jackson still infuses every song with his trademark sound. The singer-songwriter planned to give his fans exactly what he knew they wanted too, when he came back to the stage after a ten-year absence. Which means that all his big hits are chronicled in the film, from "Beat It" to "Thriller," moving through "The Man in the Mirror" and "Human Nature," adding in a few new songs, and culminating with "Billie Jean."

We see Jackson schooling his dancers on the steps and his musicians on just the notes he wants them to hit, always in a whisper-soft, almost childish voice; and Ortega and the rest of the massive team of set designers, special-effects specialists, and production people seem to treat him as if he were a little boy in response. It's weird, and it makes us wonder what footage has been carefully withheld from view to keep the myth alive.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

Updated: (10/29/09 AR)

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