Sunday, January 31, 2010
KING OF POP'S MOVIES CAPTURES HIS BRILLIANCE AND PERSONALITY
THIS IS IT
DIRECTED BY KENNY ORTEGA
When I went to visit my family on Christmas, my sister told me that my birthday gift wasn't avaliable and she would have to have it shipped to my house. I wondered what she was going to give me. A few weeks later, she told me what I was finally gonna get for my birthday; "Michael Jackson's This Is It." I was excited because my family knows how much I love Michael Jackson and she made sure that the DVD was delivered the day it was released by texting me and letting me know how far the UPS truck was from my house, and an hour later a sexy young man delivered it to my door. Like many music lovers, I'm still sad that he passed before he was scheduled to make his return to the stage, but I'm so grateful for Kenny Ortego for perserving the clips and allowing the fans to see how serious MJ was to make sure the show would be fantastic. The film also captures many of Jackson's characteristics including his professionalim, humility, sense of humor and his ability to have people enjoy his art and work hard to enchance theirs.
The musical adventures with Jackson's hired dancers speaking about auditioning, thankng Michael for the opportunity and how he inspired them to pursue their goals, followed by a voice-over of Ortego the show's director, speaking to the staff on how the opening number was going to consist against flashes of photographs and fireworks and before you can say wow, Michael comes from a robot suit dressed in a silver blazer, blue T-shirt and red pants and goes into his concert highlight "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" allowing the music to take over his body and dancing. After performing the bridge, the film fades to him telling the musicians that they need to make the song funkier.
"I'm not feeling that part enough " Jackson said as he demonstrated in a beat-box style" before the film fades to him performing "This Is It" and show him arriving for his press conference where he informs the crowd that the performances would be his last ones.
"I'll see you in July" he said as he waved and left.
Next you see Jackson's dancers popping up from the stage, and joining Michael on stage for the bridge where they gave it they all as they danced on a slanted part of the stage if they were at an actual live show.
The show's main cheoragpher Travis Payne talks about the auditioning process and is shown in various clips sitting with Michael watching the dancers strut their stuff
"If you don't have that ooze that comes out of you, then you won't get that job" Jackson's assistant cherographer said.
Up next is the performance of "Jam" which had more bass then the original version and features the dancers in athletic clothes performing a stepping miliatry style routine with Jackson along with the intro of Jackson's single "Can't Let Her Get Away."
Another hot number is seeing Jackson rehearse with the dancers routines of "Bad" and
"They Don't Care Abou Us" which for the latter feature various clips of the dancers dressed in street clothes and black miliatry outfits, while Jackson dancers with gutarists Orianthi Panagaris, who brings fire to her solo adding more funk to the original licks. What I like about the performance was the clip of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech incorporated into the show along with Jackson singing the chorus to his single "HIStory" and the dancers doing a shoulding shaking routine to the sound of "She Drives Me Wild" and "Why You Wanna Trip On Me."
One of my favorite clips was seeing Michael perform his classic "Human Nature" with accapella with background singer Dorian Holley and keyboardist Michael Braden going over keys with the Motown legend.
"You sound great MJ" Holley tells Jackson and he was right. Seeing Michael rehearse that beautiful song was breathtaking (though it would have been more beautiful had he incorporated the vocals of SWV, who sampled this song for their hit "Right Here/Human Nature" which was also featured on the soundtrack of "Free Willy" the first album that was released on his record label MJJ Records in 1993). Especially when he's dressed in two different costumes shown in split screen.
The prep/performance of "Smooth Criminal" is hot. In addition to the footage of him at the front row of a Rita Haywood concert, it also captures his romantic ballad "Break of Dawn" in highlights and it also captures his timing with the crew as well as his ability to avoid conflicts with his staff, who had a slight misunderstanding with Jackson and the dancers about when they should start to perform. You get to see Jackson vibe with his musical director while rehearsing "The Way You Make Me Feel" during a sound check, where Braden adds Reggae elements to the songs extended intro.
"I wanna hear the song the way I wrote it" he told Braden, who replied jokingly with "It needs a little more booty."
"A little more booty?" Jackson asked while laughing.
The Jackson 5 medley features colorful backgrounds and a designed of the group's famous logo, and Jackson smiling during the rehearsal and informing that they needed to adjust the sound in his earplugs before performing a nice rendition of "I'll Be There" which contains various clips of him performing with his brothers including their performance of the Motown 25 special. Another highlight is watching the dancers dsiplay their moves to The Jackson's platnium classic "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" before the legend returns to the stage and leads the dancers into the song's famous routine.
Viewers will get a chance to see Michael display his sensual and romantic side while performing his classic ballad "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" with singer Judith Hill. Making the performance sexy is the dim lights and Michael using his index finger to ask Hill to come close to him in a seducitve way. The crowd was so moved that they wanted MJ to belt out the song.
"I'm warming up to the moment" Jackson said trying to hold his composure.
"I gotta save my voice."
A funny moment was when the band started playing an Gospel number while Ortego jumped onstage and dance, making Jackson laugh.
"Thriller" was over the top with the special effects of ghosts floating around the arena and an unreleased rap by Vincent Price. Another highlight is watching Jackson and the dancers leaving the stage as the band played his single "Threatned" (A great way to let the tabloids know I'm not the one to be messed with).
The run through of "Black or White" displayed another form of Jackson's humility, when he apologizes to the band for misleading them throughout the performance, and he instructed guitarist Pangaris to continue playing if the band stops.
"Hit your highest note. It's your time to shine" Jackson says before the film cuts to interviews and performances of her and Tommy Organ.
"Earth Song" shows his humanitarian side. In addition to show him riding on the ramp, it also shows films of animals and a little girl in playing in the forest, it also had a voice over of Michael speaking about his how upset he was about the destruction of the planet.
"The planet is like a fever. This is our time to fix this problem we have. It's up to us."
This DVD would not be complete with out seeing Michael prepping his classic performance of "Billie Jean" which had the crew dancing and cheering him on, and while sadly we didn't get to see him do the famous moonwalk, it was great to see him adding extra moves that makes people wonder what did Justin Timberlake do to bring sexy back.
The adventures ends with Michael thanking the crew for their hard work and telling the dancers not to allow fear to enhance their gifts and crafts, and as they hug, the films fades to Michael performing the classic "Man In The Mirror"
This was a great way to pay homage to a man who's music and dancing is still making an impact on people around the world, and a great way to help fans cope with the loss of a great Icon, who provided the soundtrack for people lives. It was also a great way to show the tabloids his true character (hopefully they will start calling him by his given name), and show today's inspring artists what it really takes to put a show together and hopefully they will see that it take more than getting on stage and looking cute.
Many are still sad that Michael never got the opportunity to return to the stage, but watching this DVD will make you think that you're actually seeing him in concert having a great time.