Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This is it?

I have no idea why people rave about this film so much, as if they've never seen MJ in action before. Don't get me wrong. This is it proves once and for all that MJ's talent was massive and undeniable, and at 50 years old, he still had it. His moves were still sharp and his voice was beautiful. But it's nothing we haven't seen or heard before. His dance moves are exactly the same as in his hayday--the spins, the pelvic thrust, the moonwalk, the sideway sweeps, even the choreography to particular songs are the same. The 'new' visual elements are based on concepts from the old videos--Thriller is still set in a graveyard, except with different ghouls, and Smooth Criminal is still Chicagoland of the 1920s, just with a different set. The only part of the film I found moving was I'll be There because no one could sing this much-covered song like him--even though that whole shtick: calling out the names of his brothers, flashing old images of the Jackson 5 on screen, has also been done before at his previous concerts.

I wish we could have seen a personal side of MJ, but he remained elusive, as he had been throughout his career (except for a few awful, embarrassing moments in that BBC documentary ). His interactions with all the people working on the concert--musicians, dancers, the director, are distant and one-sided, with everyone bending over backwards to cater to his wishes. Did they bitch about him when he showed up hours late at rehearsals? Did they marvel at his surgically-abused face? Most of all, I want to know if MJ knew the O2 shows will never happen, that this is the final record of him that he leaves to the world, would he have done it differently?

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