Thursday, 5 November 2009

This is it

I probably never would have chosen to see 'This is it', but went with my friend to a mother and baby screening. It's a good film to watch around babies - no plot to follow and some of them at least seem to enjoy the music.

Personally, I've always been in two minds about Michael Jackson. On the one hand, I don't believe he ever hurt a child. On the other, I was definitely on the Jarvis Cocker side of the whole Brit Awards debacle. But this film is genuinely special.

There's the poignantly double-edged title (of the planned tour & the film, echoed in the words of one of the dancers at the beginning - 'I was looking for something, to give meaning to my life - this is it').

The mini-interviews with dancers and musicians give a real sense of excitement at performing with their hero - it's wonderful to see them whooping and applauding Michael's rehearsals, and you wonder what has become of them since it all ended so abrubtly.

But most importantly, it is truly a pleasure to see someone who so often seemed out of place in the world working in his natural element. The music and video backdrops are sensational. I still loathe 'earthsong' (cos big music tours are so, er, eco-friendly? but maybe Michael was rich enough to offset it all...), but who can resist the classics - personal favourites are 'beat it', 'billie jean' and 'smooth criminal'. It would have been a great tour - but the film gives even more, as it shows Jackson the professional, a musical perfectionist with confidence in his perfomance and opinions, working behind the scenes to ensure the music 'nourishes', 'sizzles' and is 'drenched in moonlight' - not to mention being in the right key, the right tempo and so on. This is surely the way to remember him.

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