Friday, October 30, 2009

Was I wrong about 'This is It'?

After Michael Jackson died in June, on my original blog, I expressed honest but pointed misgivings about the so-called "King of Pop" -  a post that caused quite a bit of consternation.

Then, when it was announced that the rehearsal footage was going to be made into a theatrical film, I recoiled. The whole enterprise seemed ghoulish to me, and I didn't want to see it.

But then the reviews came in for This Is It.

Wow. Granted, the Metacritic score isn't the greatest, but there are an awful lot of raves - including one from Roger Ebert, my favorite critic.  And this review by Michael Wilmington on Movie City News makes for fascinating reading, especially when he compares Jackson to Judy Garland, one of my all-time favorites:

It’s a fact that some great entertainers are only truly at home and only really live out their lives fully on stage (or screen) -- and chief among them were both Jacko and that other great child star turned incandescent show biz diva, Judy Garland. If Michael lacked that eventual maturity of a Bing, a Frank, or even a John and Paul, what he did have, in spades, was Judy’s supreme stage magic, and show biz chops --  in his case, a little more in his dancing (in a class by itself) than in his singing. He also had her overwhelming vulnerability and, it seems, some of her talent for self-destruction.
It’s fitting that, like Judy, Michael played in a movie musical based on The Wizard of Oz (The Wiz), though they gave him the wrong role. Instead of the Scarecrow, Jacko would have been much better as a male Dorothy. (Diana Ross should have been Glinda.) If Michael was no Elvis, he was no Ray Bolger either. But like Garland, he was the monarch of dreamland and master of the rainbow, child/ruler of the arena -- probably most alive when the band started playing and the fans started screaming.

Even though I was never a great fan of Jackson's, I did miss that era when what he did seemed so effortless and otherworldly. It looks like maybe the movie brings some of that back. I guess there's only one way to find out - I have to change my mind and see it after all.

What about you? Have you seen This is It? Will you? Have the reviews changed your mind? Oh, and who wants to bet that "two weeks only" run gets miraculously extended?


Allison Dickson said...

I want to see it, but it'll have to wait for DVD. As little as I get to the theater these days, I can't see paying for admission, although I will admit my curiosity is really high.

Scott Copeland said...

I might watch it sometime, but I am not motivated to go to the theater.
Oh, and Jackson was great as Scarecrow and correctly cast in The Wiz. The casting mistakes were Diana Ross as Glinda and Richard Pryor as The Wiz. Ross was too old and Pryor couldn't sing, requiring You'll Got It, one of my favorites from the stage version, to be cut.