Film Review: This Is It

mj5

Just finished reading Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” this morning. It’s a tough book to read, both for its great amount of exposition and its fatalistic tone, but its classic status is definitely well-deserved. Quasimodo, what a character. One thing that impresses me about books like this is how there’s absolutely no doubt from the characters when it comes to love. Frollo loves Esmeralda. Esmeralda loves Phoebus. Quasimodo loves Esmeralda, too. All of them never waver in their love, and they never have a moment when they ask themselves, ‘Is this right?’ ‘Should I really be doing this?’ ‘Can’t I do better?’ For each of them, their love simply is. Sigh, it’s been a while…

But I digress. Let’s get to “This Is It,” aka The Michael Jackson Movie. My family and I went to see it yesterday, and I’m glad to say that we all enjoyed it. I think your reaction to the movie really depends on what your expectation is. If you’re expecting to get any new info about MJ or insight into how and why he died, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. The “behind-the-scenes” info pretty much comes down to: he loves his fans and he is a perfectionist when it comes to details. As interesting as it is to see Michael talking to the cast and arranging the show, the interest comes from the mere fact that he’s no longer with us and the show will never take place the way he intended. It’s the interest of watching a ghost; it comes from a place of eeriness, not illumination.

With that being said, “This Is It” really boils down to one thing: the music. That was really the whole point of the show, and it’s also the point of the film. If you like MJ’s music, you’ll most likely like “This Is It.” If you don’t, you won’t. For me and my family, we found it to be a “thriller,” pardon the pun. The music and the accompanying dance routines–even with Michael clearly holding back to save his voice and energy (spoiler: he never does the moonwalk)–prove to be just as exhilirating as they were back in Michael’s heyday.

Back in the 80s, not long after I first came to the States (I was eight at the time), my family and I were given tickets to a Jackson 5 show (from the Victory tour). It was my first-ever concert, and I don’t remember much of the details (I do remember Michael took off his shirt at one point and the crowd went crazy), only that it was incredibly exciting. Even my mom, not exactly the most relaxed of people, was dancing and shaking her shoulders. To be in the movie theatre yesterday with my dad, mom, and brother beholding Michael’s greatness once again, it was a very bittersweet moment. After all, we were still here together, having gone through a lot–seriously, I mean a LOT–of ups and downs and various detours and earthquakes. Through it all, we have survived. Michael hasn’t. May he rest in peace.

Thriller – Michael Jackson

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