A few hours ago I was walking by a Redbox DVD rental machine and happened to overhear two women loudly discussing the fact that MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT was released today, and neither could find a copy to rent anywhere. This made me think back on when I watched it with my wife a couple of months ago.
I had managed to avoid it while it was out in theaters. My wife had mentioned she wanted to see it, but it seemed to me to be too much of a hassle. Coworkers would come into work, discussing that they had seen it the night before. They described packed screening rooms, hysterical women crying during the movie...just not my scene. Also, I was never what anyone would call a big fan of MJ, and I didn't see the need to drop $10 to see this. When a screener copy fell into my lap, I didn't have a reason to put it off any longer.
I also must admit that the back story to the release didn't interest me at all. Rehearsals filmed for MJ's first new tour in years, the "making of" DVD was already planned for a small Christmas release but the promoters decided for a huge push after Jackson's untimely death. Random behind the scenes footage bunched together from a couple of months of filming reeked of exploiting the dead.
To my surprise, this documentary actually shows how great a tour this would have been. Michael appears to be in pretty solid shape. He wasn't at all the fragile, frail individual he'd been made out to be. He looked strong. He looked sharp. He was really into coordinating all aspects of the concert.
There's not much to say about the actual film. It basically boils down to a Greatest Hits CD performed live, with the title song being the only new song performed. Watching the film, however, there is no doubt how talented a musician, dancer, and performer Jackson was.
With the DVD release of THIS IS IT, I have to wonder when the Tupac-ing of Jackson's unreleased material will begin. A decent amount of fans will wonder "what could have been" of one of the most iconic figures in our culture, and that is when the milking of Jackson's catalogue will begin. It has been rumored that there is more than enough material already produced for quite a few new albums. My guess, it will not be a long wait.