spun – Michael Jackson “This Is It” (Film)

28 10 2009

thisisit

DIRECTOR : Kenny Ortega

RATING : ***** (5/5)

SETLIST :

  • 1.  Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
  • 2. Jam
  • 3. They Don’t Care About Us
  • 4. Human Nature
  • 5. Smooth Criminal
  • 6. The Way You Make Me Feel
  • 7. J5 Medley (I Want You Back/The Love You Save/I’ll Be There)
  • 8. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
  • 9. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
  • 10. Thriller (3D)
  • 11. Beat It
  • 12. Black Or White
  • 13. Earth Song
  • 14. Billie Jean
  • 15. Man In The Mirror
  • 16. This Is It (Credits)
  • 17. Heal The World (Credits)
  • 18. Human Nature (Reprise) (Credits)

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Half asleep, half dressed and a five min walk down the road on a wet late October morning in Glasgow, I managed to drag myself to the live feed showing of Michael Jackson’s posthomous concert extravaganza “This Is It.”

Armed with a pad, pen, cigs and a Bounty trio I was ready to go (almost.) On arrival the “Cineworld” staff were top class by handing out free compilmentary Relentless energy shots to sleepy punters like myself with staff with a smile that only could be done at half past 3 in the morning, y’know that one when you’re fragile and can’t lift facial muscle, that one.

Sitting in my seat I had to put up with half an hour what sounded like “NOW 54” (checks cd), yep “NOW 54” on random including the sounds of S Club, One True Voice (hell on Earth) and the UK garagetastic Jaimeson with ‘True’, bonus! So yeh bet you’re thinking to yourself what the hell was Marc doing up at that time in the morning and why? Well answer is I wasn’t alone as there was constant drones of punters coming in screaming “Oh jesus, we thought we were the only ones.” So 5 swiftly became a 30 strong cinema with a 50/50 mix of nightclubbers, passed out DJ’s on the Alesha Dixon comedown (me) and folk watching the film because they couldn’t get the bus home, class!

Like a sweaty blue hooded beast in Majorca (bloody full heat in the cinema) – 4:04 am came and the trailers started. Lot of guff including Hugh Grant being lame as usual and Nicole Kidman trying to rehash her Moulin Rouge days, too much already! 4:18 – film starts! Starting with a spiel about what the film was and was intended for time for some action. The film kicks off with an introduction from his backing dancers and their love for their idol before breaking into “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” complete with backflips, freestyle dancing and exploding stage lights! An electric start followed by Michael’s press conference appearance at the O2 with slight cameo from ex-Blue Peter presenter Tim Vincent (ha! – he deserved a mention really!)

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Slam dunking into the film, ‘Jam’ comes complete with a series of split screen performances providing us an insight into how much practice and effort was put into each song and dance routine. This heart and soul dedication is highly present throughout the entire film particularly in both “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Beat It.” Michael being a musical perfectionist stays true to original videos, keys and songs whilst shoving a few ad-libs of his own in, the only exception being “Black Or White.” From the “Black Or White” pop juggernaut I remember as a child, Michael allows two of his musicians the musical freedom to turn the song into a heavy metal monster! Michael’s unique precision and cherry picking the creme de la creme of both his dancers and musicians who’s names include Sugarfeet and Mo Pleasure (dunno what the hell they were on either) make the musical experience of the film unfathomable.

An energy drink kick and multi chocolate covered fingers later the film continues with a vast array of hits, rich stage lighting and personal messages from Michael’s heart. The “J5 Medley” is a pistache to his days performing on the Sonny & Cher show complete with J5 backdrop and a mature MJ vocal. At the end of the medley Michael personally thanks his brothers by name evoking his love for family and more so with “Earth Song” his love for the planet. “Earth Song” is an updated version of the video containing a rural young lass sporting a dolphin t-shirt chasing butterflies around a forest with short voxpops from Jackson himself and his strong emotion for green planetary issues!

Michael Jackson Sept. 21

The musical shades of Jackson’s music is all but too present in the film from “Human Nature” and it’s stunning heightened state of sexual emotion in blue (complete with Jacko’s trademark hand gestures) to the complete anger and burning rage of “Beat It”, Michael and Ortega leave no stone unturned to transform the music into an escapists paradise! But without lying or overhyping what many will also say are the best bits of the film by FAR were “Smooth Criminal” and “Thriller 3D.”

Taking both of his hit 80’s videos, his unique vision and slapping them up with a 2009 revamp, Michael conciding with Sony Pictures, Kenny Ortega and various CGI teams gives the tracks his own new spins. The result is jaw dropping! For “Smooth Criminal”, Michael dips into cinematic history at the “Break O’ Dawn” club and is enhanced into the late 40’s Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film “The Big Sleep.” Using original dialogue and Michael in his famous “Criminal” suit, a lot of time and effort have been taken to endure fans like myself enjoy the ride. The VT also uses snips from the original “Moonwalker” music video. But even that doesn’t take the biscuit as the team top it with the lavish and very scary (at 4am with 3D glasses on) “Thriller 3D.” If the cinema don’t provide 3D glasses when u’re going in please ask for them as you’ll be missing out! A mummy rolling out of a tomb, a flying spider and that famous dance all add up to a stunning visual intake of Jackson’s new “Thriller” experience – this has to been seen to be believed!

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** MARC’S KEY POINTS **

– I won’t reitterate this enough PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember to take 3D glasses if you’ve got them, because well the “Cineworld” weren’t aware that there’s “Thriller 3D” in it (bloody scary in the unholy hours of the morning half asleep) but thanks to a MJ forum, I was told previous to watching the film!

– Michael’s wardrobe looks not a day older than 1997, really the last time he recorded anything decent – shame really but bear in mind he was 50 when he died and fashion sense  (like my dad who’s 52) probably went out the window!

– The film is testement to Michael’s precision in music, taste and his strong personal beliefs (part of which you’ve saw before.)

– You might hate Kenny Ortega by the end of it, ie. a big fat director man dancing and sharing “the love” with MJ.

– Expect key Michael Jackson tracks not album rarities or records featuring MJ! We expect the DVD to have plenty of extras when it’s released at Christmas time!

– Crotch grabbing a-plenty throughout (fantastic mid scene with Russian woman wanting more attitude during crotch grabbing), AOOOOOOW!!

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From the moment go the film was really a signed sealed and delivered letter to his fans from beyond the grave (not that the Royal Mail would’ve been involved in that one), and for a lifelong fan like myself it was the perfect ending to the Michael Jackson wanderlust packaged in just under 2 hours. As Jackson says himself the results are “sizzling” but there is only three words you can say about this fairytale – “This Is It.”

The companion soundtrack and compilation album “This Is It” is out now on CD & Digital formats through Epic Records.
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MGS
(ps. Marc came out the cinema at 6:10 am – and went to bed at 9am… hardcore!)