“This Is It” Brings Michael Jackson Back For Two Weeks Only

noah | October 28, 2009 10:00 am

Our look at the closing lines of music-related reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to This Is It, the limited-release film that compiles rehearsal footage of the late Michael Jackson as he warmed up for last summer’s ill-fated run of shows at London’s O2 Arena: • “For a modern entertainer who dies before his time, immortality is measured in residuals — the money from commemorative projects like this. Michael Jackson will have no resurrection — in the end, that was that — but the movie does earn him a redemptive legacy. It proves that, at the end, he was still a thriller. Fans and doubters alike can look at the gentle, driven singer-dancer at the center of this up-close document and say, admiringly: This was him.” [Richard Corliss, Time] • “Jackson’s total lack of engagement with the cameras adds to the unreal mood. He’s always performing, but for the imagined masses, not for the filmgoer. Not reaching those masses was the final tragedy of Jackson’s life. Occasionally, he’s shown offering creative direction to his collaborators, and the steel in his voice reveals how much the world he was creating onstage meant to him. Everything, really: enough to push himself to the edge of human endurance This Is It doesn’t entirely acknowledge that reality, and that’s a little odd. But Jackson probably would have wanted it that way.” [Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times] • “It’s a bit much to claim it’s any kind of viable substitute for the live show, and since Jackson avoids conversation as much as is humanly possible it’s also a bit much to claim we get to know anything more about how he ticks. But This Is It a testament of a kind, and one that is no disgrace to his memory.” [Andrew Pulver, The Guardian] • “This all calls to mind the comeback concerts of Jackson’s friend Liza Minnelli, who hit Broadway last year at less than her best but was determined to bring the house down every night. There was no reason to think that Jackson wouldn’t have accomplished the same thing. Even if he didn’t manage to blow the crowds away 50 times, he would have risked it all trying.” [Wesley Morris, Boston Globe] • “I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable.” [Elizabeth Taylor, @DameElizabeth / Twitter]