Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Released: October 29, 2009
Grade: A-

Michael Jackson’s death in June this year was certainly a shock.  It was one of those eerily memorable moments in that people will always remember where and when they first heard the news.  The reason is because Jackson was such an icon.  I’m not a huge music buff but even I know that he was a musical genius.  His songs will be appreciated for decades to come.

Jackson’s swansong was to be a series of 50 sold out concerts in London.  Kenny Ortega, who made the three High School Musical movies, was the director and choreographer of these shows.  The cast and crew spent months rehearsing in Los Angeles but Jackson passed away three weeks before the first concert was due to be held.

I was sceptical about this movie.  I didn’t really understand how they could make a two hour concert film from rehearsal footage.  This of course was never the intention when the footage was actually shot.  Jackson planned on keeping it in his own private collection.  I guess some of it would have also been used for promotional purposes.

Ortega has done well though.  Yes, it’s a concert movie but it goes beyond what I thought it would achieve.  It offers a rare insight into a reclusive individual.  Jackson avoided the media spotlight in his final years but we now have a chance to see him up close, simply being himself.  I confess to finding Jackson a little peculiar but when you watch him performing on stage, you realise he has such an incredible aura that rubs off on those around him.

This Is It features most of Jackson’s most famous songs and there are some nice interviews with those involved in the project – including a few Australians.  It’s worth noting that the film is not a tribute piece.  There aren’t any interviews with big name celebrities reflecting back on Jackson’s life and achievements.  In fact, Jackson’s death isn’t even mentioned except in the very opening scene.  The movie simply provides the chance to celebrate the talent of this gifted artist one last time.

Like any good concert, Jackson saves his best songs for the very end.  I was tapping my fingers together during quite a few of them.  If you want to experience a similar sensation, then you’ll need to be quick.  This Is It is getting a limited two week release in cinemas across the world.  I’ve got a hunch that many people are going to see it.  And so you should.