The rumours and controversy surrounding the release of This Is It were as wild as those surrounding Michael Jackson’s life and death. Body doubles were used in the film! The movie is a blatant way of making money from Michael Jackson’s death! Fans are staging a boycott because the film fails to address MJ’s health issues and death!
But these are only distorted statements meant to tarnish this last homage to the King of Pop.
There is indeed a body double in This Is It, in scenes where the Smooth Criminal video is re-enacted: a stuntman is seen gliding down stairs, running and crashing through a window, while Michael does what he does best: sing and dance. The star’s death is not mentioned, which did seem strange and even condescending but they did not try to hide or disguise Michael’s skinny frame, which was all too obvious in some scenes. But this frailty only made the remote star a bit more human.
We get a glimpse of a Michael Jackson that we’ve rarely seen: not the diva, not Wacko Jacko, but a gentle soul. A soft-spoken, almost childish man who apologizes whenever he makes a mistake (‘and that’s why we have rehearsals’ he says) and who laughs at jokes made by his entourage. We are also reminded of how great a performer Michael Jackson was, in case there was still any doubt. His rendition of Human Nature during rehearsals is pitch-perfect and he has enough stamina to give his young dancers one lesson or two.
More revealing of Michael Jackson’s state of mind during these gruelling rehearsals is his smile; the discreet, sheepish smile of a born performer happy to be back where he belongs; the smile of an artist, a perfectionist who knew that he was setting a new standard for live performances. No expenses were spared in this mega production. In one video, Michael Jackson’s image is inserted in scenes of cult movies Gilda and Casablanca, and we see the star interact with Hollywood legends Rita Hayworth and Humphrey Bogart. A 3D version of Thriller shot especially for the concerts makes the original Thriller look like a $200 video. There is also a spectacular CGI clip for ‘They Don’t Care About Us” in which Michael’s 11 dancers, clad in military suits are multiplied to infinity. The film is full of such extraordinary moments that made the audience gasp, cheer and whoop. We can’t imagine a more befitting tribute.
Video: Michael Jackson’s fans go wild for This Is It screening at O2
More videos like this on www.t5m.com