What I am going to say is going to surprise a number of people, heck Ill be honest, it surprised me, but here goes: I recently saw the most spiritual film I have seen in some time on DVD, it wasn’t just one of the most spiritual films I have seen in the last year, it is one of the most spiritual films I have ever seen. Are you ready for this; it was Michael Jackson’s, This Is It!
Now don’t get me wrong, I was never what I would call a huge fan of Michael Jackson. I liked him, I grew up with him, I was as taken in as most everyone else with the ‘bizarreness’ of Michael Jackson but as a student of psychology, as a musician who has been blessed to work with some phenomenal bands, I sort of understood why he was the way he was. This man from the time of a small child had a lifestyle thrust on him that very few people have ever understood. Even the so called King of Rock, Elvis Presley had somewhat of a normal childhood. Michael Jackson from a very young age never knew the reality of a childhood we could relate to and the danger to the development of ones personality is not lost on me. It is also certain, the perfectionist driving attitude of his father had some impact on him, not only psychologically, but in the music and life he lived.
Many critics of Michael Jackson will want to delve into his past, the accusations, of which he was acquitted of. I will simply state my opinion here, this discussion isn’t the job of a reviewer, maybe the job of someone in the judicial system or news press, but while we may all have opinions, this movie don’t address those issues, and I for one am glad it doesn’t, to have done otherwise would have us focus on various things, mainly speculation. I am going to comment on is the movie.
First, a pet peeve of mine, the review of a DVD needs to be done on the DVD. I go to the theater and stay until the end of the credits because I owe the people who read my reviews that courtesy of reviewing the entire movie. I try to research the movie, and share my open and honest opinion of the movie. Regarding DVD’s I realize, people work hard to get the money they have to either rent, or purchase a DVD. I want to know when I read a review, is the product worth the purchase? What is different than the theatrical version of the film, (unless a direct to DVD release) and I will admit it, as a film lover, as a DVD lover, I want to know about things like Easter Eggs and Special Features, why, because that is one of the very purposes for many to buy the DVD. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people who purchase DVD’s are purchasing a movie they have already seen.
Now as to this particular DVD, while there will always be a loss of vibrancy in the transfer from the Digital Big Screen Version to the small screen version I think the transfer and vibrancy here hold up tremendously well. In fact, if you didn’t see the digital version in the Theater, you may find that the Blu-Ray, or HDTV version is even better than the screen you saw it on. I was extremely impressed with the video quality. The sound quality was also exceptional and as good as any DVD transfer of a live performance (albeit a rehearsal performance) I have seen. From the packaging, to the quality of the product, this DVD oozes with exceptional quality. The DVD also features some wonderful special features including two documentaries, the making of, and much more. It is a joy to see a DVD release that provides this, and for the fans of the movie, the special features alone will make this purchase worth while. I especially enjoyed the Memories of Michael feature that shows the impact he had on others. While one may not have the feelings towards Michael these individuals do, there is no doubt, he had a lasting impact on those he came into contact with.
For those who have been in a coma for the last months, This Is It is a movie that was put together rather quickly after Michael Jackson’s death. Jackson always filmed his practice sessions to review later on, and while I seriously had skepticism as to if this could be done in a professional way or if it was just a scheme to make money I was pleasantly surprised. This is a quality movie that tells a compelling story. This Is It is more than just a rehearsal practice of his concert tour that was to be, it is an exploration of the impact he had on the lives of others, while at the same time touching on his own drive for perfection. It also explores what goes into making a quality live concert performance, from lighting to sound, to rehearsals, to working with the band and beyond, including what would have been an incredible 3-D live version of the hit video Thriller. Unfortunately we won’t get to see this tour which may have been one of the best live performances ever given, from the staging to the production, I have seen nothing that comes even close, not even U2 a band I greatly love and appreciate or Pink who has a fabulous live show.
Some may ask why this film was so spiritual for me. It is quite simple, in a world filled with mediocrity, especially within the Christian subculture, I was blessed (I seldom ever use that word) to see an example of someone who took their life, their gifts so seriously. To see that person then want to share those gifts with others around them was an inspiration to the very purpose of what gifts are for, not to be kept to ourselves, but to be shared with others. We receive the gifts and talents, and then it is our responsibility to share those things. I doubt few entertainers, or public celebrities did this as well as Michael Jackson. We see examples where the stage manager for Jackson would give suggestions, but it is very clear, the single person responsible for Michael Jackson’s performances, his music, his dance, production and more was Michael Jackson. No one controlled the man, but the man found an incredible way to exhibit his opinions, listen to others, and give correction to others in a loving, non threatening way. What a great example for even some one like me who doubles as a pastor.
I could give accolade, after accolade for This Is It, and prior to the movie, while I liked Michael Jackson’s music I wasn’t really what I would call a fan. I am now though. It is sad now because we no longer have Michael with us outside of the footage and the music. While that is something, I see things like this and my heart breaks that so many in society either didn’t understand or didn’t give a chance to this real live, human being, who had issues, but instead of trying to understand those issues we were so quick to throw stones. Of course I would say that few of us will ever delve into perfection, into quality in order to share with others in the way Michael Jackson did. We can look at that in a variety of ways, but for me, I hope I can recall this movie when I think about taking shortcuts. When I think about throwing out a review instead of thoroughly taking seriously my readers, may God forgive me. When I think of doing anything half way as to give credit to myself instead of respecting those around me and giving them my best, may God forgive me. What do I think about Michael Jackson today, actually quite simple, I thank God for giving me a reminder, no matter how imperfect he was, for showing me what it means to take my craft, and the hearts of those that craft is created for more seriously. May we all learn lessons for that.
On a scale of 1 – 10, for the number of letters in the word brilliance, I give a very deserving and blessed 10
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