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This Is It


Writing a review of Michael Jackson’s concert rehearsal documentary is something of a pointless endeavor (which is why this will likely be quite short). The film is exactly what you expect: a final look at one of music’s most influential, yet troubled, individuals. It’s the last chance Jackson fans have of see their hero perform. We don’t learn much about Jackson the man (OK, so we learn he likes trees), which really holds it back as a film. But there’s not much point in a recommendation from me. If you like Jackson, you’ve likely already seen it. If you’re indifferent, you probably don’t have much desire to see it.

The performances range from solid to bizarre, but it is worth noting that Jackson hasn’t lost much over the years. He was still a more-than-capable dancer, and the vocals are still strong as well (although Jackson’s vocals have never been my favorite). Easily the most emotional song is “Man in the Mirror.” It appropriately closes the film (the implication being we just got a glimpse at the real man). It would have been more appropriate if that was actually the case. As I said, the film ended without me really having gained anything new about Jackson or his music. A trip to the iTunes store would have been just as productive.

I’m surprised this film is as respected and well-reviewed as it is (there was even some talk about a possible Best Picture nomination). It’s a standard concert-doc that features no new insights, but a few great musical numbers. Fans will flock; others likely don’t care. Consider me in the middle. I enjoyed parts, but thought it was a wasted opportunity. And I think the length of this review tells you a lot about my feelings toward the film. There’s just not all that much to say about it.

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