History of Documentary - Michael Jackson's This Is It

Topics: Michael Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Concert film Pages: 7 (2704 words) Published: February 22, 2013
This Is It, Michael Jackson’s Post-Mortem Money Maker

For a larger portion of the new millennium’s first decade, the public image surrounding the then and now “King of Pop” Michael Jackson was clouded in disapproval stemming from erratic eccentrics and child-molestation accusations. Whether it be showing up late to court in pajamas or having children testify against him, Jackson’s once great public image was starting to fade.[VERB TENSE IS ALL OVER THE PLACE TO HERE] Like that of Ms[DELETE SARCASTIC ‘MS’]. Britney Spears, who was expected to reach his level of success by the end of her career, a major facelift of his public perception was necessary[SENT IS ABOUT BRITNEY, AND THEN ALL OF SUDDEN YOU REFERENCE JACKSON WITH PRONOUN … BAD SENT]. After the ideas were laid out, the logistics were planned, and the aesthetics were pieced together, it was time for Michael Jackson to reclaim his appeal and announce his decade-long anticipated return to the stage for the This Is It tour in London. The tour never happened. Unfortunately, in the days leading up to Michael’s move from rehearsing in the US to London, he died. With Michael’s passing also went any chance of the tour going through to production. At least that’s what we thought.

In the months that led up to Michael Jackson’s untimely death, private footage of the This Is It Tour rehearsals was shot for Jackson’s own records. In the months following his death in June of 2009, those private records were then transformed into the feature documentary of the same name. Though the film highlighted Jackson’s musical genius, its exploitative use of his death in relation to how soon it hit the big screens, its piggybacking on the recent rising popularity of rockumentaries, its improper use of private rehearsal footage, and its disapproval by his immediate family was an unethical use of Jackson’s recordings.

Was the public given time to mourn the death of the late King of Pop? Is less than five months ample time to get over the loss of someone who’s changed the lives of millions of people? Those are the questions we must consider While a timeframe of approaching half a year between death and theater-release may seem like a substantial mourning period, what needs to be considered is the time between Jackson’s passing and the announcement of the film’s production. The Los Angeles Superior Court approved the purchase of Michael Jackson’s private rehearsal footage of the This Is It Tour for film production by Columbia Pictures in early August 2009, just a few short weeks after Jackson’s passing ([“Judge OKs” DELETE REST OF ARTICLE TITLE … ALWAYS SHORTEN TITLES] Jackson Performance Film Deal 2). While we didn’t see the film for another ten weeks, the short time between Michael’s death and the purchase of his footage was disrespectful to the Jackson estate.

Let us not forget that the This Is It Tour was meant to revive Jackson’s once great public image. With the tour now impossible to fulfill, alternate measures had to be taken. As if public reflection on the life and career of Michael Jackson wasn’t enough posthumous credit for his work, a movie had to enter the picture for monetary gain.With Jackson’s team so desperate for image restoration, the tour could not go unseen. So mourning time was cut down in order to make sure the tour footage was seen, taking Michael’s public image into account over an ethical approach to letting fans and family grieve. The film, which highlighted his extensive attention to detail both documented his preparation for the tour, and acted as a surrogate for the concerts that would never be. Jackson’s entertainment lawyer, John Branca said in an interview just weeks after Michael’s death: “We felt we needed to restore Michael’s image, and the first building block of that was the movie.” It would seem production to the movie was rushed in favor of Michael’s image over time for reflection and grievance. Branca finished by saying that “People came away from...
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