Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"This Is It": auditions and dress rehearsals for Michael Jackson's intended concert

This Is It”, Kenny Ortega’s homage to Michael Jackson, as a compilation of his last dress rehearsals and some documentary style interviews, sometimes does rise to the challenge of concert film, although it seems lower key than other films of this nature, sometimes made in 3-D. Here, the technique is a straightforward 1.85:1 aspect, with a lot of rehearsal footage shown as embedded hi-def video.

The film actually starts with some auditions, and gradually moves into showing us Michael Jackson’s style in directing his own art. At one point he tells his crew he wants the electronic instrumentation performance to be “simpler” and a little slower. Gradually, the experience gains some steam, as the film shows the pyrotechnics associated with Jackson’s stagecraft, and then there occurs some stirring environmentally-motivate footage, particularly regarding the cutting and burning of the Amazon rain forest. There is also a dress rehearsal, with complete make-up application shown, of the October-like “Thriller”.

Most of Jackson’s major hits (“Beat It” etc) get performed, and the film produces the emotional effect of one reliving the past three decades of one’s own life experiences. Remember Jackson’s performance at the Super Bowl in 1993, just as the debate on the military gay ban started?

By the way, “This is it!” is a famous, if notorious line uttered by Leonardo Di Caprio in Titanic just as he and “kate” are about to sink.

This film is distributed by Columbia, under its full label (not as Sony Pictures Classics). The production company is simply "The Michael Jackson Company LLC".

Guests at a Regal Cinema in Arlington VA received a Michael Jackson necklace and badge. The small auditorium was about half full today.

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