i went to this is it last night expecting to see either a hagiography praising the perfect personage of michael jackson or a britney spears-style train wreck, a broken puppet of a man being jerked around stage to make money for his masters.
what i saw was a fierce dancer working hard to realize his artistic vision. mj comes across as clear-headed, focused, and very definitely in charge. he's constantly stopping his dancers and musicians, telling them to slow it down, like they're 'bathing in the moonlight' or to speed it up, because his jacket's so hot it's going to catch fire - purely in a pretend, non-pepsi way, i should add.
the movie is made by those who love mj, and while it is respectful, it isn't sugar coated. we see him getting all precious prima donna as he complains, for a very long time, about the fist punching him right in his head - that would be his ear piece.
but you also see how serious he is about the music, the dance and the whole 3D spectacle he was making happen. he sure as hell was no frail, mentally weak freakshow. the hints of what he had in mind suggest the 50 nights of mj would have been a monster success.
while most of the footage is very raw, and very much mj warming up, on a few extraordinary occasions he cranks it up and you see what we've lost. when dancing to billy jean, he's supposed to just go over the basics, but the music - his music - grabs him and he pours on a dance like a fire hose. his physically fit and limber body stiffens up with that strapped-down hurricane intensity and the moves - all the classics - burst out like supernovas.
those not interested in mj might not get much out of it - but the music will get into you. it's just so good! my fav is they don't really care about us. unlike the rolling stones, who rolled their corporate show through halifax a few years ago, mj still cared. he was still in it for the love.
this is it shouldn't have been it. it should be the special feature accompanying the blow-out concert dvd from london, but no such luck. someone once said life is not a dress rehearsal, and this is vivid proof of that. luckily for us, mj and his huge onstage team cranked the dress rehearsal up to full concert levels just enough to make this movie work.