‘This is It’ lives up to Jackson legacy

Collin Hoofnagle, News Editor

The King of Pop’s still got it, even if he is dead.

Right up to the days before his death four months ago, Michael Jackson was painstakingly practicing for his upcoming set of shows in London entitled “This Is It.” Unfortunately, Jackson never made it to London.
So in an effort to mark the legacy of Jackson, director Kenny Ortega compiled hundreds of hours of rehearsal and backstage footage during those grueling practices Jackson and his team of incredibly talented dancers and musicians underwent in preparation for the show.

The film is marketed as a concert-movie, which makes some, including myself, consider skipping the movie and just buying the CD. Luckily though, “This Is It” gives you way more than just music.

It gives you the chance to see Jackson’s back up dancers who make the finalists on “So You Think You Can Dance” look like toddlers dancing on a play mat. It offers pyrotechnics comparable with the Opening Ceremony at Beijing. And finally, it gives you effects you wouldn’t expect in a concert, like a retrospective action sequence for “Smooth Criminal” and an all new 3D graveyard scene for “Thriller,” displayed behind Jackson and his crew on the big screen.

As for Jackson himself, Ortega makes him shine as a performer, entertainment-industry connoisseur, and as a loving person. Jackson can still hit the notes he did as a member of “The Jackson Five”, do the moonwalk and, do the crotch-grab in style. Jackson is even seen leading the light crew, musicians, dancers, and the director. Finally, viewers see a side of Michael too often corrupted by the media: his love for others. Even though he demands his pianist to play a different tune for one verse, Jackson says he’s asking the pianist with “L-O-V-E.”

Unfortunately, the film will let you down at the end. But it’s only because you realize the legend that had your feet tapping and heart pumping for the last two hours is no longer alive; that he never got his last chance to shine.

If you’re looking for a memoir or biography of Michael Jackson, skip it. But if you’re looking to remember or even explore the talents of a fifty-year old legend among modern-day and old-school choreography and special effects, don’t miss it.

“This Is It” was scheduled for a two week run, but has now been extended through Thanksgiving. Get show times for Bel Air at fandango.com

Collin Hoofnagle can be reached for comment at [email protected].