Saturday, January 30, 2010
Michael Jackson's "This Is It" is one for the music library.
WHEN I attended a special IMAX screening of “This is It” the day it opened in October, I cried the first half hour of its 111 minutes. Seeing Michael Jackson, the undisputed King of Pop, alive and swell, but knowing he was dead and gone (but not forgotten) was too much for Yours Truly to bear with dry eyes. “TII” is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and PSP (PlayStation Portable).
After his deathday, I disengaged from the swirl because rampant was the speculation/conjecture/falsehoods to which I alluded in the appreciation I wrote later that evening. (http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2009/06/king-and-i.html). I re-engaged for the moving ceremony at the Staples Center. And went underground again until “TII” was released in theaters.
To those who may have been under a rock for the last several months, “TII” is the film that chronicles two months – from April to June – of MJ’s Spring 2009 rehearsal for his sold-out, world concert tour that was to kick off in the summer from London’s O2 Arena. My emotions as I watched this magnificent/massive/momentous talent on that gi-normous screen toggled between anger and joy.
I remembered with disdain and disgust how most elements in the U.S. media mercilessly denigrated MJ for his difficulties, quirks and peccadilloes to the virtual exclusion of his humanitarian efforts and his enormous gifts. It still grates and irks to all get out when I recall how ad-nauseam these dolts referred to him as the “the so-called King of Pop,” not the King of Pop. If not Michael Jackson, who? Who? Who?!
Please note that I am not suggesting that MJ was perfect and above reproach. Clearly, he was not. When one has that much talent, it logically follows that one will also have a few eccentricities. And MJ had more than his fair share. But they did not invalidate The Talent.
On a happy note, I marveled at MJ’s boundless energy and perfectionism. I was reminded of his myriad good deeds revealed during the Staples Center ceremony. Many I had no idea about. Incidentally, the highlight of the Staples Center program was not his daughter, Paris’, plaintive declaration near the end. They were the anecdotes from Brooke Shields and the Rev. Al Sharpton, for they provided true insights into the man’s character, personality and humanity.
My joy was further informed by the knowledge of how beloved MJ was – and is – the world over. A woman of a certain age (at least 60-something) sat one seat over from me in the theater. To say she was enjoying herself does not to begin to convey her brio. She was singing. She was swaying. She was bobbing her head. She was popping her fingers. She was tapping her feet. She was dancing in her seat. At any moment, it seemed that she was simply going to jump up and start moonwalking. Ditto for many at the screening. It was a celebratory atmosphere. That’s part of the MJ effect.
Paris (France) was my home for more than five years, and it is the home of people from around the world. It was almost impossible to have a conversation about American music without a worshipful reference to MJ. He influenced countless individuals to become dancers and singers. Witness the number and variety of people – regular folk and stars – who’ve credited him for their career choices. They’ve spoken with nothing but great admiration and deep sadness.
“This Is It,” the No. 1 grossing concert film in world box office history, was unleashed Tuesday (26 January), but I decided to hang back until the crowds – actual and virtual – got their copy of the Blu Ray/DVD/PCP. They are not IMAX, which made everything bolder, bigger, brighter, clearer, more immediate. But they are a piece of history to buy into. If you need any further convincing, listed below in descending order are the top 10 reasons to own “TII”:
Reason No. 10:
More than 90 minutes (not on PSP) of footage not in the film, including the audition process during which many (more than 5,000) were called but only a few (11) were chosen; the reminisces of MJ from “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega&crew and, for fashionistas, a presentation by costume designer, Zaldy, of the get-ups MJ was going to wear on tour.
Reason No. 9:
The Blu-ray feature that allows viewers to bookmark/customize favorite songs from the “TII” playlist;
Reason No. 8:
MJ’s rehearsal is exponentially superior to and more entertaining than the actual shows of many performers;
Reason No. 7:
It’s a master class for modern dance students (and professionals);
Reason No. 6:
It’s a master class for recording artists (amateur and professional);
Reason No. 5:
It will make you cry;
Reason No. 4:
It will make you laugh;
Reason No. 3:
It will make you cheer:
Reason No. 2:
It will make you sing along;
Reason No. 1:
And the No. 1 reason to own “This Is It”: It is a video love letter to the world from the King of Pop. There will not be another. This, is It.
Suggested prices for “This Is It” are Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD, $28.96, and PSP, $24.94. At this writing they are available at Amazon new or used as low as $23.97 for Blu-ray; $12.86 for DVD and $19.74 for PSP. Visit http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Jackson-This-Blu-ray/dp/B002UD56I6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=12595