Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
Certainly there are reviews aplenty on our final glimpse of Michael Jackson on film, but just in case anyone has forgotten, I wanted to add my endorsement and encouragement to get thee to a theatre, before it's too late!
I viewed "This Is It" on Monday, in a sparsely attended theatre in the north end of the Bay Area. This film was much better than I had anticipated; I recommend it not only to those who specifically enjoy MJ's music, but to anyone interested in dance or in the production aspects of a show of this magnitude. It is at once a concert film and a documentary, showcasing not only the singing and dancing talents of Jackson and his carefully chosen supporting cast members, but also the considerable technical marvels required to make this big show go.
"This Is It" has a couple of breakout stars who definitely had the break of their lives when they were chosen for this ambitious project. One of them is Australian guitarist Orianthi Pangaris who, in addition to looking conspicuously gorgeous, is competent to handle the Jackson catalog with apparent ease.
Another memorable new face is that of Judith Hill, whose duet with Michael on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is perhaps the only moment of the film in which MJ is coaxed to sing to the full extent of his abilities, protesting afterward that he has to save his voice for performance.
Jackson himself, bone-thin as always but far from frail, has full creative control of the developing production, with able support from director and choreographer Kenny Ortega. The King of Pop was clearly in charge of his kingdom, the stage.
It is a joy to watch MJ work, crafting every detail of what would surely have been a spectacular concert series. We've never been afforded this privilege before and sadly, we won't be offered it again.
"This Is It" is playing in limited engagement at theatres across the U.S. Do yourself a favor. See it on the big screen.