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Review: Michael Jackson's 'This Is It'

October 29, 2009

Had Michael Jackson’s series of concerts at London’s O2 Arena gone off as planned earlier this summer, it would have almost certainly signaled one of the most dramatic comebacks in pop music history. The rehearsal footage on display in “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” is certainly evidence enough to draw that conclusion, providing a solid basis to imagine the final product while also giving a heretofore unseen glimpse of the star’s creative process -- and the latter is both the film’s greatest strength and its most troubling element. Worldwide box office should be monstrous for the Sony release, which grossed $2.2 million domestically from Tuesday night shows.

Despite the grotesque and unceasing curiosity over Jackson’s private life, his working procedure was scarcely documented, and his intense perfectionism is breathtaking to see here. He corrects his dancers while in the midst of striking poses himself, pores over video footage and auditions, works out with a vocal coach and gives his band instructions that are alternately brilliant (“Play it like you’re dragging yourself out of bed”) and Kafka-esque in their impenetrability. Read More