Michael Jackson’s This is It (2009)

DailyView: Day 299, Movie 422

I have watched concert films from Elvis and Queen over the last few days, and so I decided to add one of the more controversial one to the DailyView, Michael Jackson’s This is It.

It took awhile for me to listen to Michael Jackson songs after the documentary series Leaving Neverland. The allegations against Jackson of sexual abuse of kids stuck with me and made listening to his music difficult. Since the time has passed and some of the allegations have been questioned, it has made it a little easier for me.

But that is not the only controversies with this movie. This is It was a documentary that was pieced together from personal films of the rehearsals for a comeback tour of the same name. In fact, the film itself is almost exclusively Michael’s rehearsals for the show. However, the show was cancelled because of the untimely death of Michael Jackson. There were plenty of people, including family members of the Jackson estate, that believed that releasing the movie was just an attempt at a cash grab and that Michael, being a perfectionist, would never have wanted it released since he was not giving it his all. There were also accusations of the use of body doubles of Michael because he was not in good health, an accusation denied by Sony. This led to protests and boycotts of the film by fans.

I will admit that I did not notice any obvious examples of replacing Jackson with body doubles. It seemed pretty clear that it was him. There may be one or two places where a body double could have been used, but it would not make sense in the grand scheme of the film to do so. As for not giving his all, he says multiple times through the movie that he is not singing to save his voice for the performance. There are moments when he breaks into song and he chastises himself and others that he should not be singing. I found this as Jackson’s desire to create an epic show and protecting it, despite the times when the music’s feel overwhelmed him.

No matter what you think about the person Michael Jackson, it cannot be denied that the man was a musical genius and one of the greatest onstage performers we have ever seen. The complicated dance routines involved in the plans for the show was amazing and how fluidly he moved through them was astounding, especially with the fact that he was not fully healthy and would die weeks later.

Jackson’s perfectionism came through in the film as well as he was constantly stopping people for specific reasons, to hold a beat or to let the music breathe, that some would not be able to hear, but it was how Michael had the sound in his head. His musical brilliance was definitely shown here.

The film is an amazing look at an artist in the process of creativity and how so many people were behind the scenes in support of the man. This is It exists in opposition to Finding Neverland, the dark side to the legend that was Michael Jackson.

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