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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Despite lackluster footage, Jackson documentary shines due to late superstar’s performance

While it was never meant to exist as a publicly viewed documentary, the footage that was compiled to create Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ surprisingly makes for a refreshing look at one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

The footage in question is a compilation of shoots taken from the rehearsal stages of Michael Jackson’s would-be comeback tour. While ‘This Is It’ might not have witnessed such popularity had its iconic star not tragically died in late June 2009, this final collection of world famous songs displays the King of Pop as a restored dancing superstar. Like any great documentary, ‘This Is It’ has the ability to shed light on a predominantly mysterious or misunderstood subject.

A great documentary is usually the result of substantial content or the director’s ability to tell a story. As one of the most documented musical artists, Bob Dylan was given a terrific visual story when Martin Scorsese compiled the documentary ‘No Direction Home.’ This elite compilation of photos and historical videos is much different from the equally respected Metallica documentary, ‘Some Kind of Monster,’ which is a first-hand eyewitness account of the relationships between band members. ‘This Is It’ struggles to find a footing with either of these documentary approaches due to a lack of worthwhile footage and overall direction.

Kenny Ortega does as good a job as possible compiling a film out of the half-baked footage he was given. The entire film is essentially an incomplete performance from the late dancing icon. However, the film unexpectedly shines in the depiction of collaboration, creativity and detail put into the making of a live musical performance. We finally witness the creative thought process arise from the concealed thoughts of Michael Jackson. Through his dedicated involvement with the rest of his creative staff, Jackson shows us a side of himself that is free of media scrutiny and bizarre antics.

Ultimately, the success of ‘This Is It’ is largely due to this dedicated depiction of Jackson. Here, we see Jackson as a gifted, brilliant and irreplaceable artist for which the world will forever remember. For Jackson fans, it’s the holy grail of documentary footage. Fan or not, this film is bittersweet proof we’ve all missed out on one hell of a spectacular show. Thanks to an incredibly talented and iconic artist, we see what a tremendous show it would have been.

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