The world premiere of This Is It from the Regal Cinemas at LA Live was a star-studded event, with Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Neil Patrick Harris, Paula Abdul, Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ashley Tisdale all in attendance to show their support for the King of Pop.
But we wanted to know what the critics thought of the film that features real footage of Michael Jackson rehearsing for what would have been his final tour. The movie comes out worldwide today, and here’s what some of the top critics are saying about the film.
Richard Corliss, Time: “So what is This Is It? A concert film without the concert. A backstage musical that takes place almost entirely onstage. A no-warts hagiography that still gets the audience closer to the real Michael Jackson — MJ the performer, that is — than anything in the man’s avidly documented history. Wisely and decently ignoring the circumstances of his death and the circus that followed it, Ortega focuses on the re-creation of about a dozen Jackson standards for the concert.”
Owen Gleiberman, EW: “This Is It is not in any way ghoulish. It has now been established that when Jackson died, he was, physically speaking, a relatively healthy man. And so we’re spared the macabre spectacle of combing the movie for any literal signs that he was knocking at death’s door. It should also be said, though, that in This Is It, Jackson shows no telltale signs of a broken spirit, either. From the moment he takes the stage, he’s loose, robust, and in control.”
Lou Loumenick, New York Post: “Neither a concert film nor a documentary but a ghoulish “event” offered just in time for Halloween, “This is It” is sadly — and reprehensively, if you ask me — the movie equivalent to the National Enquirer’s infamous post-mortem shot of Elvis Presley.”
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: “Let’s be honest, though: That’s not what most of us expected from This Is It , which opens wide today. The Jackson who shook off his mortal coil on June 25 wasn’t the vibrant young performer who regularly electrified stadiums, and hadn’t been for many years.”
Leah Rozen, People: “Ardent fans will be happy to gaze at their idol in action; moviegoers hoping to understand more fully who Jackson was and what made him tick, besides performing, won’t find answers here.”
Andrew Pulver, Guardian: “The big fear, though, was that fulsome homages to the man and his talent would smother This Is It in a coating of treacle; thankfully, Ortega limits it to the occasional sobbing outburst from the dancers or choreographers. We are instead offered genuinely interesting tidbits of Jackson’s stagecraft, in the shape of intense discussion of cues, cherry-pickers and trapdoors – presumably to demonstrate how hands-on he was.”
The Mirror: “Michael Jackson fans will be desperate to see this musical documentary, drawn from more than 100 hours of behind-the-scenes footage as Jackson prepared for his comeback shows. No advance screenings were sent to media - though the trailer does offer tantalising raw footage of dance routines, songs and spectacle. But love him or loathe him, there is no denying Jackson was a remarkable performer and this looks like it will be a fascinating and probably moving epitaph.”
Did you see This Is It yet? Weigh in with your own review in the comments!