Somewhere during the music documentary, “This is It,” I remembered that Michael Jackson was bigger than the caricature he’d become.
Taken from more than 100 hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scene footage, the film documents preparations for a series of 50 comeback concerts in London.
We find a talented man, who manages to be as humble as possible while surrounded by people who idolize him.
When someone makes a mistake, he says, “That’s why we rehearse.”
That moment speaks volumes about a perfectionist who knows what he wants and knows how to help his collaborators get there with him.
Of course, we get a fraction of the video footage, which Jackson wanted so he could study how the show was coming together. Maybe there are “diva” moments buried in all that footage.
I can judge only what I saw, a man who’s intimately involved in creating a massive and impressive undertaking.
The big surprise is seeing Jackson the CEO in operation, especially in light of well-publicized events over the past 30 or so years that made us wonder what planet the man called home.
When Jackson died at age 50, rumors swirled that he’d been in bad health, but the video footage shows otherwise. He out-dances people who are 25 or so years younger.
The vocal performance is up and down, which you’d expect for a dance-heavy rehearsal. He still busts loose on occasion, and there’s no doubt that he’s still got it.
I’m not sure he could’ve handled 50 concerts in London as planned, but those first 10 to 15 would’ve been stellar.
At the time, friends and I joked that dying might have been the best thing that could have happened to Jackson’s reputation and career. But I take that back now: The “This is It” movie shows that the “This is It” concerts would’ve done that job in fine fashion.
The video footage is grainy at times, and the weight of Jackson’s death hangs over “This is It.” “Enjoyment” isn’t the right word, but it sure is something to see.
I give “Michael Jackson: This is It” an A minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Michael Jackson: This is It” an A.
“Loved it. Fascinating.”
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal