This Is It

I don’t know how anyone can watch that beautiful, impossibly gifted young child performing next to the sick, depressing weirdo that he grew up to be and not feel downright heartbroken.

By Sean Burns
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 32 | Posted Nov. 3, 2009

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The necrophiliac gravy train continues, as this hastily assembled cash-in cobbles together over 100 hours of poorly shot rehearsal footage from Michael Jackson’s ill-fated final 50-night London stand. Outdoing even that gaudy Staples Center funeral fiasco in terms of sheer for-profit effrontery, This Is It proclaims in a lengthy, sanctimonious opening credit crawl to be “for the fans.” What a happy coincidence then that it’s also a convenient way for these concert promoters to recoup some of the millions they lost when the King of Pop fled this mortal throne shortly before showtime.

As it’s all still just a rehearsal, Jackson ain’t singing much. He insists that he must “conserve his throat,” while some suspiciously sweetened background tracks don’t quite match the lip-sync. Alternating awkwardly between standard and hi-def video in variable aspect ratios, the furious editing of the piece and undeniably contagious power of those old melodies roused a crowd of the faithful to rapturous ovations at the matinee I attended.

Yet the whole thing just made me sad. MJ still had his moves, popping, locking and sometimes defying gravity with a simple glide across the stage. But this last waltz is such a mechanical, over-choreographed spectacle, drowning out the music with precision timed pyrotechnics, onstage bulldozers, 3-D movies, and even a computer-assisted, black and white machine gun battle against Humphrey Bogart.

He also looks awful—spindly and emaciated with distractingly gigantic hands and feet, peering out from behind his omni-present sunglasses with that creepily immobile, nose-less death-mask face. The few times Jackson is actually heard speaking in the movie, he comes off like someone you’d hide from on the subway, unable to articulate a simple request to lower the volume on his headphones without shrieking “There’s a fist in my ear!” Regular communication with fellow human beings was clearly impossible for him by this point.

The last straw for me was during the Jackson Five medley, when this ravaged Skeletor is glimpsed standing before oversized video projections of his much younger self, the soundtrack soaring with some of the most gloriously joyful pop music ever recorded. I don’t know how anyone can watch that beautiful, impossibly gifted young child performing next to the sick, depressing weirdo that he grew up to be and not feel downright heartbroken.

It’s a goddamn American tragedy. Let the poor bastard rest in peace. D+

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 32 of 32
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1. Huh? said... on Mar 22, 2010 at 11:09PM

“Did we watch the same movie? Very baffled at your "shrieking “There’s a fist in my ear!" part. Hmm, in the show I watched, there was no shrieking. No shrieking at any part at all actually. Just a lot of song, dance, joy and mutual respect going around. And, Michael communicated his request like a human being with a lot of respect to his team. Hmm, pls let us know what show you watched cos you sure as hell didn't watch MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT...I should know, I watched it! And, what the heck are you so pissed off about? Your broken heart? *smirk* Get over yourself!”

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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 24, 2010 at 09:54AM

“wow wow wow, how can yo possibly downgrade the biggest king of pop EVER!
you need to get yourself in check if your going to go around insulting people when we all have issues.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Mar 26, 2010 at 06:38AM

“you are a jealous man.
did you review the movie or did you review the man
you dont even know to review art.maybe your favorite singer doesn even get a fraction of that praise.that has made you sick
you need to find a way to get over this.
cause michael jackson mania has once agin started.
we are not celebrating the man but his unbelievable talent
how did you get this job when you know dont how to review simplicity in art.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Apr 12, 2010 at 12:30PM

“This is a terrible review.”

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5. Amir said... on May 10, 2010 at 12:16AM

“Hey, Sean? Suck my dick.”

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6. Omar said... on May 12, 2010 at 01:52PM

“I am apsolutely disgusted at your words. You are a confused man with a lot of hatred.

RIP King.”

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7. Dinesh said... on May 30, 2010 at 12:25PM

“Here's a famous quote on Michael Jackson - "There are two kinds of people in this world, there are Michael Jackson fans and there are Idiots". I see you belong to the second category. Kudos loser!”

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8. Anonymous said... on Jun 6, 2010 at 03:56PM

“What a disgusting review, based on the reviewer's prior prejudices of Michael Jackson than about the movie itself.”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jul 2, 2010 at 01:16PM

“You're the 'poor sick bastard'. Leave this man alone and let him rip.

Keep your crummy thoughts to yourself. Some of us enjoyed seeing his final rehearsals which were very well done.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Jul 5, 2010 at 04:50PM

“wow! You hold a lot of hatred for someone you didn't even know, it makes you sound insane. Give your keyboard a rest and stop pounding on it your weird attempt to slander a human being. Try being a enlightened person, it might make your hate filled life a tad better. Oh,and also you might want to go back to school and learn how to write real reviews, not letting your bruised ego get in the way, because you have less talent than michael had in one fingernail.”

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11. Anonymous said... on Jul 5, 2010 at 04:54PM

“Sean, stop wasting your life trying to be the next Roger Ebert, it's never going to happen. I suggest you go back to school and try to find something you are talented at.... if thats even possible.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Jul 5, 2010 at 08:11PM

“You are a very angry, bitter, jealous and heartless man (the pure opposite of what Michael Jackson was). And if reviewing movies is supposed to be your "talent" I suggest you find another vocation because this is the worst, most unfair movie review I've ever read.”

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13. MIST said... on Jul 6, 2010 at 01:56AM

“Some people can not see with their eyes,feel with their hearts and use their brains in an evil way.
That´s why the world looks like it does.
Michael Jackson was a sun in the darker,despite all he went through he still had love to share with us.
He showed us-as he always did-we shall love each other,animals, love this planet and take care of it.
It was all about L.O.V.E. that´s exactly what we need today.
he was the greatest performer that ever lived and those concerts were going to be the greatest ever.
Michael Jackson was also a humble person despite all his fame and money.
Maybe he wasn´t always singing live, but he had no idea that the doctor would give him the eternal sleep.
He was right,he had to save his voice to be able to sing in 50 concerts”

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14. Anonymous said... on Sep 7, 2010 at 05:58AM

“Michael was a gifted human being and this movie is to celebrate his life's work. How dare you judge Michael on some stupid prejudices you have against him. You're just another ignorant person that is fooled by the media's lies. Loser!”

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15. dave said... on Nov 14, 2010 at 02:48PM

“yes his hands were huge.. shame poor guy didnt eat much..”

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16. Anonymous said... on Dec 27, 2010 at 10:16PM

“what a terrible and subjective piece of journalism”

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17. Anonymous said... on Jan 3, 2011 at 12:42AM

“You're nothing but a big jerk!!!

You should keep your rotten review to yourself and show some respect to the King of Pop!!!

All this dissing on MJ, needs to stop!!!”

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18. Melis said... on Feb 10, 2011 at 08:55AM

“Get a life all you haters he was INNOCENT with a capitaal I the rumors werent true ok? So stop spreading fake ugly lies across the world and let him rest in peace!! You guys make me and Michael sick.”

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19. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:14AM

“Those that knew MJ didn't call him a weirdo. I rather hear from these people instead of people who didn't know a dam thing about him, except to call him names.Yes he had his problems, but it just goes to show that despite all the talent, despite him being a genius, and in my opinion he was the greatest entertainer ever. But still he was just a human being with faults like us all. All I can say is he will be missed.”

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20. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:14AM

“Those that knew MJ didn't call him a weirdo. I rather hear from these people instead of people who didn't know a dam thing about him, except to call him names.Yes he had his problems, but it just goes to show that despite all the talent, despite him being a genius, and in my opinion he was the greatest entertainer ever. But still he was just a human being with faults like us all. All I can say is he will be missed.”

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21. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:22AM

“By the way I choose not to read the article. After all that is just this guy opinion. I am so sorry MJ life ended the way it did. But I believe there were some good in MJ's life, he wasn't the horrible person that some wanted to make him out to be. I will never forget MJ.”

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22. Anonymous said... on Apr 10, 2011 at 06:54PM

“I hate these kind of reviews. You already made up your mind about Jackson and the movie before you even seen it. So instead of enjoying the movie and giving an actual review you bash it.”

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23. I Love "Human Nature" said... on Apr 22, 2011 at 12:19PM

“Sean Burns, thank you for an honest review. MJ gave it his all, but his concert suffered from elephantiasis trying to inflate his great early songs. Beat It was always a ambitious song and a knock-out, but poor Michael couldn't top it in the present no matter how he tried to add "spectacular" new ideas. I'm happy his fans were happy, but his genius left the premises two decades before.”

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24. orange said... on Jul 15, 2011 at 02:33AM

“This review is so far off, it's laughable. I just watched the DVD a year later and not particularly an MJ fan, but I really enjoyed it. Wow the man was such a perfectionist and knew how to put together a good show. He truly was the greatest entertainer of all time. Loved his moves, his energy, his emotion into his songs. I was even more impressed with his humility and gentleness and respect for his crew - "that's why we have rehearsal" ... he was so cool about directing and correcting his musicians in a nice way. This reviewer was letting his preconceived opinions of the man really cloud an objective review of the film. RIP Michael and God Bless your soul.”

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25. Anonymous said... on Nov 6, 2011 at 12:56AM

“Great review. It's the ugly truth, but it is still the truth. His adoring fans, loyal beyond belief to the end, admiring the emperor's new clothes.”

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26. Anonymous said... on Apr 15, 2012 at 03:23PM

“Dear Sean,
How could you!!! Michael Jackson was one of the best singers ever. You where probably just jealous of him. Your review sucked!!!”

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27. Jordan Rockwell said... on Jun 25, 2012 at 01:33PM

“Great Review, Sean. Just found this by way of Steve Silver. I continue to be amused by your haters. They only reveal their insanity by the comments above.”

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28. Luna said... on Jul 26, 2012 at 03:14PM

“Sick? Did you really call a man with more talent than all of our artists now sick? Michael Jackson is the picture of talent, then, and even now. Think next time you talk crap about someone with more respect and love than you.”

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29. Himadri Nandi said... on Aug 3, 2012 at 07:51AM

“Wow! Another uninitiated MJ hater ...”

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30. Beppo said... on Oct 20, 2012 at 11:00AM

“Just watched 'This Is It' for about the 10th time. Sean Burns, really? "Shrieking" that there's a fist in his ear? "The last straw for me..." -- LOL. Sean Burns, you're in the wrong line of work if it was a chore for you to watch this film. Now, what about Kenny Ortega? Ortega's annoying pandering to Michael Jackson did not bother you, did not warrant one word, but Michael performing did? You may be the worst reviewer I've ever read.”

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31. Presha said... on Apr 13, 2013 at 10:37AM

“I agree with everyone above.

We miss you, MJ.”

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32. Presha said... on Apr 13, 2013 at 10:39AM

“and please; Show some respect, goddammit! Full of hatred.”

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