Scenes from the icon's last quest for perfection
The misty rain didn’t stop throngs of fans from lining up for the premiere viewing of Michael Jackson’s This Is It documentary film. The security at the Regal movie theater in NY's Time Square was presidential tight. Part time security guards with dangling ear pieces were lined up every few steps of the way creating make shift check points, where they all rubbed the upper right corner of the over sized tickets. The raised MJ letters proved the validity of your ticket. Once past the 5 different checkpoints, yet another security team member and the gigantic movie screen greeted you into the theater. After watching the live feed of the red carpet from LA's premiere for nearly two hours, the movie finally started to the delight of the antsy audience.
Once you realized that this movie/documentary is more about MJ's passion for performing and the steps he took to ensure a tight show, you get to wipe away the tragic events of why you're looking at this flick in the first place.
It's incredible to see MJ a bit stripped down from the aura of mega star and see him as the exhausted ringleader trying to get his thoughts across to his team. He has semi-tense moments with his musical director, which will surely spawn classic quotables like “Let it simmer!” 'That's why we have rehearsal,' and 'I Love You'.
One consistent request that MJ has is for all of his music to have a feel. He wants the people to experience the music, be it funky, soothing or hardcore, just as they've experienced it from the albums. The way he leans into the rhythm and how he wraps his vocals around the melodies just make great viewing cues for up and coming artists to build upon. There are times when you can see how focused he is on the art form, especially when it's time to select his tour dancers. The process is basically a shortened version of 'So you think you can dance for Mike?'
After picking the dancers and meeting the band, your attention switches to Mike's bugged out gear. We've seen this man in everything that we can imagine, but you've never seen him in cool out street wear. At one session MJ is rocking a black flight/bomber jacket, paired with Ed Hardy loose sweats. He's tired, a bit haggard and still hits his cue points like a pro.
The true bright spot for the film is the use of digital enhancements to recreate classic videos like 'Smooth Criminal', 'They Don't Really Care About Us' and 'Thriller'. The hours long pain staking process of transforming into a ghastly ghoul for no more than a few seconds screen time is all worth it once MJ see's his vision on Kenny Ortega's jumbo preview TV. MJ turns into a hyper active teenager while watching the playback of selected scenes where hideous monsters mash for close up poses.
It's no wonder how he commands so much attention. Between his unmatched talent and bizarre look, how can this guy not amaze you? I was recently sent a link to a 1985 Ebony Magazine story that showed what celebs would look like only 15 years later in 2000. For Mike, they just added a few wisps of gray to his hair and a thin mustache to his Thriller days look...how more off could they be?
The latter part of the nearly 2-hour film starts to push MJ's environmental message and world harmony agenda. It warms the heart to see him so dedicated to helping others. It's a shame that his death seems to have been caused by the same people that were supposed to be helping him from himself.
Enjoy the man in the mirror's final moments the best that you can.
Did you see the film? If so, what did you think?