Films on Planes: part 3 - Michael Jackson's This is It (2009)

This one time Dropkick left on a jet plane. He didn't know when he'd be back again, but whilst on jet planes he watched whatever film that was played on board, ate bad food, drank Bloody Mary's, and hoped to one day return home to write reviews no one would read of the films he saw in the clouds. This is part 3 of an ongoing series.

Flight: Bogota to Miami
Film: This Is It
Director: Kenny Ortega
Class: Business (holla)
Drink: Red Wine.... Bloody Mary
Meal: Omelet (again)

When the Spanish stewardess with legs up to here announced we'd be watching Michael Jackson's This Is It I felt quite relieved. The last two plane films made me wanna gouge my eye out with the practically useless plastic knife I got with my barely edible sky meal. This Is It, a documentary about Michael Jackson's sold out series of concerts that never began due to his death a mere three weeks before the first date, was something I hadn't planned on seeing but was curious about.
Growing up I was a Michael Jackson fan, until Vanilla Ice came around that is.
As i grew older my musical tastes drifted away from pop and moved into pop-punk and then into punk and then into metal and there was a moment there where I just listened to noise.
Anyways, once when I was 19 i was convinced by a friend to go to a night club, places i swore i'd never go to. I hated the music and the people at those places, but this friend told me the drinks were insanely cheap and I, being the lonely smelly guy I was, obliged.
A funny thing happened that night, i left the club a lover of pop music again. I had danced my little Greco-Colombian ass off and by doing so had purged alot of stress out of my system.
Near the end of the night the DJ played Billy Jean and it all came flooding back, what deep down I've always wanted to be...
I no longer feared dancing because i thought i couldn't.
I no longer just wanted to stage dive and punch people in the eye all the time.
I wanted space on the floor, i wanted to bust a move, I wanted to moonwalk, I wanted to walk down the sidewalk and have the pavement light up, I wanted to grab my crouch and say "Whoo!", I wanted to smash a car with a bat and scream, I wanted to synchronize dance with the dead, i wanted to save children from Danny Devito and turn into a giant spaceship that the children enter to hear me sing Beatles songs (see: Moonwalker)
I wanted to be Michael Jackson... I had just forgotten that I did. Much like Robin Williams's Peter Pan forgets Neverland in Hook...

Well, in accordance with the beginning moments of the film, where all the back up dancers tell the camera how they feel about the tour and Michael Jackson, I thought I'd throw in my two cents on how the man affected my life is all.

The footage featured in This Is It was intended to document Jackson's monumental endeavor. The planned concert series was poised to be the biggest comeback in pop history. It wasn't filmed with a concert film in mind, so it can seem a little bare at times but if you're a fan of Michael you won't really mind.
The film is laid out just like the set list would have been played, so you're given a concert experience of a concert that isn't ready yet.
It certainly looked like this show was gonna take the world by storm and for the most part the film is quite watchable. I applaud Ortega for not sugar coating the whole ordeal. When Jackson forgets words or gets tired or has an issue with the band it's left in for us all to see. These moments make up the funniest moments of the film, we all wanna see what a nutbar Jackson is and he doesn't disappoint when he stops a song because it's overtaking his ears and there isn't enough "L-O-V-E".
However, what i thought would be more of a mess wasn't really. Michael was 50 years old and the man still had the moves and the voice. He wanted this show to be perfect and that really shows in the footage. When you watch this all you see is Michael Jackson the performer, probably the best musical performer of all time. And that goes a long way.... especially when some angles make the guy look like Skeletor.
This Is It, makes you feel like you're sitting in on something historic and entertains throughout. It'll make you dust off your old vinyls of Off The Wall or your worn out tape of Dangerous. It's a fan only film that no fan will dislike.

As Michael belted out his last song of the set "Man in the Mirror" i caught my own reflection from the airplane window overlooking the Atlantic ocean and softly sang "I'm starting with the man in the mirror, i'm asking him to change his ways, and no message could have been any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change.... na na, na na na, na na, na na...."


the coelacanth said...

great, personal review! like you, i wasn't dying to see this, but was intrigued nonetheless. i'll definitely be bumping this up the queue now...

thanks for the insights.

Chandles said...

pfft, don't I get props for loaning you and making you watch (MY CHILDHOOD COPIES OF) Thriller AND Moonwalker which, despite me asking you for them probably about every two weeks for the last EIGHT YEARS have still not been returned to me? You will never be MJ. MJ would never do that to his first love.

Dropkick said...

i have Moonwalker still, you can take it whenever you're here. which is alot. i'm looking at the VHS tape right now. damn i wish i had a player still.

As for Thriller... well... I'm gonna buy you the delux dvd version that apparently is due out this year.

Chandles said...


La Sporgenza said...

Good post Kris. I've always thought MJ represented the very essence of modern society's excess and banality. A superstar trapped by his monumental success and a tragic example of talent leading to suffocating psycho-fan adoration and worship. As a product of our vapid age, MJ was it's very purest distillation. There's a Greek Tragedy waiting to be told about this man-child's rise and fall, but it'll take a decade or two to get far enough away from the grotesque spectacle of his life to come to light.