November 2nd, 2009
10:34 AM ET
Michael Jackson's "This Is It" earned over an estimated $100 million dollars worldwide its opening weekend. Not surprising considering the hype around the film after Michael suddenly died in June. I was one of the MJ fans who contributed to the big box office weekend on Friday. So how was it, you ask? In a word…Inspiring. And I don’t mean how the film was put together. I’m talking about what the film showed me about the man.
Michael Jackson was certainly a complicated guy – no movie has to be made to explain that to anyone. But what "This Is It" does is bring forth perhaps the part of the man we all want to remember – the guy who thrilled us with a show bigger than we could ever imagine.
“This Is It” doesn't have narration or a detailed look behind the curtain of this musical wizard’s mind. There's certainly no hint that Michael would've died within days of the footage that was shown except for the fact that he looked so skinny. It simply shows us a glimpse not only of what Michael wanted to give to fans in his London O2 Arena concert series, but also a vivid reminder of why he was the King of Pop.
In every segment of the film, you see music radiating from every part of Michael’s being. He can’t help himself by singing out or dancing while re-arranging one of his classic hits. And, perhaps, what was so revealing about this film was that you could see that Michael was never more at home than on that stage. On stage, surrounded by music is where he knew exactly who he was, what he wanted and his position among his peers. A chill shivered up my spine with every snap of his leg or burst of his pitch-perfect voice (are we certain he was just in rehearsal?).
At the same time, it didn't escape my mind that it was off stage where Michael became the little boy lost in a big, cynical world obsessed with tearing down the famous. He could have screamed from the top of his lungs that he was misunderstood, and no one would have listened. We didn't listen. In our world, he was a child-devouring monster (though, never convicted).
I have to say, as a die-hard fan growing up, my mind and my heart have been in conflict about MJ since he passed away. He's a sicko! Oh, but he was such a genius! Is it possible to separate MJ’s music from what he allegedly did behind closed doors? Can we do that for Chris Brown? R. Kelly? What about this man who was born a musical prodigy? Must I reluctantly erase “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” from the ipod in my brain after what he allegedly did? How can I reconcile that – especially now that he’s gone?
After seeing "This Is It," the 11 year old inside of me wishes she could've witnessed Michael's genius in person. The only thing this movie shows me is that Michael was it. He was the maestro who composed the soundtrack of my generation. I will always struggle with my feelings about MJ's bizarre and disturbing life choices and his alleged behavior with children... Ultimately, I don’t know that I could ever give him the benefit of the doubt and yet, conversely, I will never deny his musical virtuosity. I guess, I’ll have to live with that conflict within me, because “This Is It” proves, Jackson’s music will never die.
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