In 'This Is It' Michael Jackson's King of Pop lives
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Everything about the run-up to "This Is It," the concert documentary that tracks Michael Jackson's preparations for his comeback tour this summer, has bordered on unbelievable.
From the herculean effort of assembling the movie from 120 hours of rehearsal footage in less than four months to the unprecedented ticket sales for a limited two-week run that started at midnight Tuesday, the tale of "This Is It" has required superlatives and exclamations.
So why stop there? In "This Is It," Michael Jackson is once again The Thriller, the biggest pop star the world has ever known. Even with its cobbled-together performances and rehearsal-mode restrictions, "This Is It" shows Jackson assert himself as the King of Pop before his untimely death.
The fact that he didn't achieve it is really the only sadness in the movie.
Jackson ended up regaining his crown posthumously, becoming music's top-selling artist of the year once again. But his intricate performances in "This Is It," far outpacing his work in his final American concert at Madison Square Garden in 2001, show that, after years of personal struggles, he had recaptured some of the magic of his early career.
Whether he's charming his way through "Smooth Criminal" or playfully flirting through "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," Jackson was once again at the top of his game.
"This Is It" is nearly two hours of celebration, as Jackson meticulously builds his show. We see him tweak the tempos in "The Way You Make Me Feel" and order lighting cues and dramatic pauses.
Those looking to "This Is It" - directed by Kenny Ortega, who was also the director of the planned London tour - for answers to questions about Jackson's health and state of mind in the weeks leading up to his death will find the saddest one. Jackson was thin, but seemingly healthy and in command and nearing the comeback he wanted so badly.